Text scam to 'mum'

My daughter received this text today. It is not from me. Fortunately she rang me and did not transfer money. I have reported it to Scamwatch.

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It might be worth also advising Cuscal Sydney as it is their BSB

And advise them the account is being used by scammers.

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Nice detective work - will contact them.

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This scam is has been going for quite a while now. Just ignore them as I do.

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Just an update - reply from Cuscal.

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My husband got this and it was addressed to MUM?
I would never ever spend $350 in the supermarket for a start.
Then most of us oldies would not do bank transfers to an account we didn’t know.
Our kids would call us not send a text. lots of things not to believe here.
Besides, if they are older they have partners to send them money not parents as first cab off the rank.

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I got this SMS on 27 Feb. The phone sent it to spam. The only difference is that the account number is different. Same BSB. And it was for $350. What is so magical about this number?

Tip: If someone claims to be someone you know and asks for money ask them a question only you and them would know. A scammer will ignore the question. The real person will answer the question.

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Welcome to the community @rjh01.

One way to proceed. Consider while it’s also likely to alert the scammer, it could provide more content they can play with. Although it’s likely been spoofed and is not the number they are calling from anyway. Hence it might add more stress at both ends.

I’d simply phone my family on their usual mobile first, or try home or partner or flat mate or ….? Anything but a reply to the number the scammer might be using. Perhaps a last resort where the message is more likely real than false and there is no other alternative.

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I also got this text this week. Except in my case, Mum was after $800 in her account due to her excessive shopping spree at Woolworths. My reply was simple - “Mum what on earth are you buying at Woolworths for $800?!” Needless to say that was the last I heard from my shopaholic mother…

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One litmus test that will not apply to everyone as a first cut is ‘has the sender ever asked for money from you before?’. It would be rare where a family member or friend would ask for an EFT out of the blue, and especially by text (or a messenger app). Most people in need would ring first and then if their ask was agreed would text the details if it was genuine. For families and friends that have needed help previously there is a track record with known BSB/account or payid details, usually already stored in their banking ‘address book’.

Imagine being in a shop sans funds and trying to resolve it by sending a text that could be delivered in minutes or hours or never, for funds that might come in minutes or days to pay ‘right now’. A thinking person in need would hopefully realise the only ‘handshake’ for time urgency is a voice call, yet the variable timing of funds transfers remains unchanged. Conclusion, the basis for the ‘scam from mum’ is implausible as a situation even though it seems to work on those who are prone to respond as asked by […] in their desire to help, and only think about it later.

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Hi @rjh01, welcome to the community.

It is recommended not to reply to any spam messages, whether it is a text, email, WhatsApp message etc as it confirms with the scammer that the number used is an active number, email, account etc. When it is known to be active, it encourages more scam/spam messages.

If one receives such a message, call your child/sibling/parent/friend using their usual contact phone number. This is the easiest way to confirm they sent the message.

This scam is a derivation of an older scam where scammers knew you were travelling overseas (from say posting on social media etc) and contacting friends saying you needed a small amount of cash to be transferred to them for some reason. This scam was successful as it was often difficult in the past to contact the friend/family member to verify it was them asking for the cash.

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The facts are that in the first 9 months of 2022 Scamwatch had received over 166,000 reports with more than $425.8 million in total losses. The most common contact modes were phone (51,234 reports), SMS (50,947 reports) and email (33,287 reports).

One can only imagine how much more is lost and not reported.

While we might be too worldly-wise to fall for scammers’ attempts, there are thousands who do. Many of these are vulnerable – as the ACCC states:

“Australians who are older, Indigenous or have disability”

It is for this reason that I always report attempted scams that get through my spam filter to Scamwatch, to any organization whose name is being used in the scam and to Choice, it being a community that helps its members to make good decisions. Maybe it’s a waste of time – maybe it will save one vulnerable person from losing their money.

For tips on how to deal with scams, here’s a link to the ACCC’s advice:

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This type of scam could be easily defeated if only Australian banks provided the name on the account being queried, as they do in the UK - you can then verify that it belongs to your Mum, son, etc. Choice could well increase their pressure on Australian banks to provide this simple but valuable service!

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A rather simple protection I have with my kids is to agree on a code word if they ever need money in these circumstances. Just use a random word like, say, watermelon, elephant, ding-dong. The idea is that it is a word not usually used in a conversation. If the word is missing the plan is to reply “you forgot something” then if you don’t get the word it’s a scam.

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From: au.norton. com
‘Replying to a spam text message confirms that the number is genuine and they can sell your number to other spammers.’

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It’s easy to recognise this is a scam because they did not refer to the store as “Woolies”.

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You know, I don’t want to sound judgemental on these sort of things, but the number of people that get caught in these type of scams is far too high for all the wrong reasons. Lets see, your kids have never done it before, its totally out of the blue, they never buy $350 worth of groceries at Woolworths, they never borrow money off you, or they are not forgetful, you follow basic protections, etc, etc, etc. Its a scam!!! Don’t do it!!! Don’t fall for it!!!

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I used my technique when I got an email from a known email address. Someone had hacked into their Gmail and sent the email to everyone on their contact list.
Tip: If you ever send a message to someone who does not know your number make sure you include information that is not public so that they know it is not spam.

I do agree do not reply to a message from an unknown source.

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Maybe the wording here is a bit off.

No bank should ever provide you with information that you don’t already have. That sounds like a recipe for even more scams!

When this proposal comes up, it is usually that Australian banks should check the name on the account (when a transaction is received). However this proposal has been discussed in this forum extensively and it does have some negatives.

Every time this gets discussed I point out that Australian banks could simply stop allowing transfers to BSB+accountnumber, which is inherently prone to error and difficult for the sender to verify.

However in the particular case of the OP, it might actually be good enough for the recipient of the text message to reply to the scammer with: “What name is the account in? The bank requires me to supply the actual account name” … since the typical scammer here won’t have any idea what the name of the offspring is. The scammer will go away and try to scam someone else.

(Edited for clarity.)

or ‘Please confirm this account is in the name of […]’ but I suspect there would be pushback on that also because of exact or near match issues coming into play.

Introduce scammer superior who includes a fake web site or realistic looking SMS with his contact number in lieu of the bank number. While probably catching fewer marks I expect the scammer would still have a profitable endeavour going forward.

ring ring
‘Hello, welcome to ExampleBank. Be careful of scammers. We are having longer wait times than usual because of people checking account numbers to assure they are not being scammed’.
→ I need to confirm an account please.
'No worries, what is the number?
→ BSB+account
‘that is registered to Mr & Mrs Scammer, is there anything else I can assist with today?’

Deuce on that idea.