Scamwatch has issued a warning to Australian parents for a new scam, termed ‘hey mum’, which has fleeced Australian parents of over $2 million in just a few months.
The scammers prey on the instinct of parents to care for their children by sending text messages pretending to be the parents’ child and claiming that they have lost or damaged their phone. From here they ask the parents for money to pay a bill or buy a new phone. The scammers come up with an excuse as for why they can’t answer the phone, and put pressure on the parents by adding a sense of urgency – a common tactic in social engineering scams.
Social engineering scams of this type are known in the cyber security industry as ‘phishing’, and have been happening since the mid-90’s. In a phishing attack, criminals will usually try to trick users into disclosing data, such as login credentials, or into making payments into the scammers account. And these attacks are surprisingly effective, with phishing being ranked as the one of the biggest cyber threats facing companies.
So what should you do if you receive a text message from a family member asking for money? Simply call them to confirm their identity – even if the text came from the correct number. This is because we’ve even seen scam text messages impersonate phone numbers. And if you’ve fallen victim to this scam, contact your bank immediately.
Well trained staff are your best line of defence against phishing attacks, since they will be more likely to detect phishing attempts and respond appropriately. Vertex Cyber Security has created its own online staff training platform where staff receive short educational cyber security videos each month. Click here to learn more, or contact us on 1300 2 CYBER (29237) or .