"Hey dad, this is my new number": Beware of this very common scam on WhatsApp

"Hey dad, this is my new number": Beware of this very common scam on WhatsApp

Recently, a new scam has been circulating on WhatsApp, particularly targeting adults and the elderly. While WhatsApp is a convenient messaging app, it's also prone to spam and scams, with hackers continuously devising new schemes to steal personal data. Beware of the new one to protect yourself and your loved ones.

In this scam, individuals receive messages like "Hi Mom, this is my new number" or "Hey Dad, I'm in trouble and need money urgently." These messages often play on emotions, claiming to be from a family member in need of assistance. They may request to be added to WhatsApp or ask for immediate financial help.

Fraudulent schemes known as "imposter scams", wherein imposters impersonate reputable entities like Social Security or financial institutions, have persisted for a considerable duration. Their objective is to initiate contact and cultivate trust to facilitate financial fraud or pilfer personal information. These scams typically involve the imposter initiating communication through phishing emails, text messages, or phone calls.

A recent iteration termed the 'Hi Mom' scam, parallels the "grandparent scam," wherein scammers exploit seniors by posing as grandchildren in urgent need of financial assistance due to a purported emergency. Messages purportedly from a loved one experiencing distress have proven highly effective for imposter scammers, as people are inclined to offer aid in such situations. If you suspect you've become a target of an imposter scam, in the United States, you can report it to either the Federal Trade Commission or the FBI.

MRD Technologies WhatsApp scam
© MRD Technologies

How to recognize a "Hi, Mom" scam

To recognize a "Hi Mom" scam, watch out for suspicious signs such as:

  • Unknown phone numbers
  • Urgent requests for help via WhatsApp
  • Contains spelling mistakes or grammar mistakes
  • Messages lacking personal details (eg the message is not signed with your child's name)

Avoid responding to these messages and refrain from sharing personal information or transferring money.

If you receive a suspicious message, it's essential to verify the sender's identity by contacting them directly through a known phone number. Additionally, block the sender's number to prevent further messages and report any suspicious activity to WhatsApp. The more you report, the more likely it is that your profile will be deleted by the application's moderators.

This type of scam underscores the importance of staying vigilant online and protecting personal information from potential threats. By remaining cautious and informed, users can help safeguard themselves and others from falling victim to scams on WhatsApp and other messaging platforms.