New ‘Hello Mom” scam hitting Ontario


Published December 9, 2023 at 11:17 am

Hello mom help, broken phone scam on WhatsApp

As the year winds down, Ontario grapples with an unsettling surge in scams. From tax refunds and work-from-home job offers to the most recent scheme that strategically preys on parents, injecting a sense of urgency and leaving them feeling frantic.

Dubbed the “Hello Mom” scam, this text-based scheme focuses on pulling at the heartstrings of parents, making them think their child is in danger.

The tactic resembles the “I dropped my phone in the toilet”  where the fraudster sends a message posing as a child who claims to have lost or damaged their phone. The message implores parents to come to their aid.

A message like this could send all kinds of panic signals to parents, causing them to make the haste decision and contact the new number.

In this scenario, the phone number seems to be associated with an Ontario area code, making the scam somewhat believable.

The parents are then asked to use the alternate communication platform WhatsApp.

This is a typical phishing ploy, where scammers aim to pilfer personal information like Social Insurance Numbers (SIN) and banking details, leveraging them for more significant criminal activities such as unauthorized money withdrawals.

Police are advising people to not reply to these messages and delete them as any response could alert scammers that your number is active, prompting further spam messages.

It is also recommended blocking the number to avoid future contact.

The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre who keep track of major scams and frauds throughout the country, are urging residents to never share personal or financial information with unverified people or groups. This includes unknown numbers claiming to be a family member.

For a list of frequent scams that made its rounds in Ontario in 2023 can be found here.

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