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Police warning: Aussie parents ordered to pay child’s drug debt

A composite image of a police office in Australia and a copy of a scam text targetting Aussie parents.
Aussie parents are being warning about a new scam aiming to impersonate their children. (Source: Getty/NSW Police)

The New South Wales Police have warned Aussie parents about a new text scam impersonating their children and claiming they need to repay a drug debt.

The shocking text message is an off-shoot of the notorious ‘Hi mum’ scam - where criminals impersonate children asking their parents for some financial help.

But this new scam takes things even further by claiming the child has a drug debt that needs to be paid.

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"I'm with them now and their [sic] going to st*b me if I don't pay it all back to them now, I still owe them another $3,000, I am so scared," the text message reads.

"I don't know what to do, I have no idea where I am, they have me in the back of a car. Send it now please."

Parents concerned for their children's well-being could easily be duped into paying the fake debt.

“The latest 'Hi Mum' scams have added a nasty twist to steal your money,” NSW Police said in a Facebook post.

“If you receive this scam, call your loved one on a known number - NOT the one in the text - to verify their safety.”

The comments section of the post confirmed multiple people had already been hit by the scam, with users flooding to tell their stories.

“I’ve gotten these messages through text, Whatsapp and Instagram. The Instagram one had hacked my sons [sic] account, so truely [sic] looked like it was him. Except they spelt Mom instead of Mum and my son was with me,” one user wrote.

“This happened to my mum months ago she almost thought it was me. Luckily she called me and I confirmed it wasn’t me. We also get the tolls ones and Amazon, even though I’ve never ordered through there,” another user commented.

While many Aussies said they managed to avoid falling for the scam, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said more than 1,150 Australians fell victim to the so-called ‘Hi Mum’ scam in the first seven months of this year, with total reported losses of $2.6 million.

The vast majority of these scams were reported in June and July 2022.

“Scammers will stop at nothing to get your personal details or money and this particular scam is designed to pull your heartstrings,” Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Delia Rickard said.

“It’s important to stop and think if you get a message, especially on WhatsApp, because chances are it’s not your family member or friend – it’s a scammer.”

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