The Parent Trap
Midlothian residents are being warned about the 'Hi mum' phone scam which is being used by scammers to con parents out of money.
The scam can be carried out on text messages or WhatsApp. The fraudsters target parents by pretending to be their children and asking them to send money to help them out in an emergency. People are being contacted randomly, so in some cases they will contact individuals who don’t have children and the scam will fail, but in many cases they hit lucky and the person contacted will have children perhaps living away from home at university so the scam seems plausible.
Asking for money
The message usually starts with the sender saying they have lost their phone, it's damaged or they can't access it. Then the ‘child’ goes on to ask for money by explaining a difficult financial situation and playing on the parent – child relationship. If you question that the bank details provided sound unusual the scammer will tell you it's because they can't access their bank account for some reason.
There have been reports of Midlothian residents being targeted in this scam. Midlothian Trading Standards advise that if you receive a message like this don't be tempted to transfer money immediately. Enquire further by asking who specifically it is by name and by calling them or asking for a voice note.
Easy to be caught out
Councillor Stuart Mckenzie, Cabinet Member with responsibility for community safety says:
“Scammers are getting clever so it’s easy to be caught off guard. If you have children, this scam can be highly believable. If you live in Midlothian, please report any suspicious acts like this so we can warn others in the community.”
If you receive a suspicious text message, you can report it by forwarding it to Midlothian Trading Standards on 0131 271 3559. You can also inform Advice Direct Scotland on 0808 8009060 or call Police Scotland on 101.