Stay SMS scam smart

In Australia, scams and spam sent via SMS are on the rise. And as a global messaging provider, we’re taking this very seriously.

That’s why, we’ve put together this quick guide to let you know who’s sending these messages, how you can spot them, and how to block them. It’s all part of helping you stay safe.

What kind of SMS scams are being sent

In Australia, we’re seeing all sorts of scam messages being sent, including those from fake:

  • Business ventures
  • Charities
  • Investments
  • Lotteries
  • People in ill health
  • Prizes
  • Prospects of romance

Example 1: You’re sent an emotional plea or invited to win a prize.

You might receive a message with a short story, inviting you to use a telephone number, or to click on a link, or to supply information such as a tax file number.

There may be an emotional plea associated with the messages. For example, someone is poverty stricken, unwell or seeking a relationship. Or, you might be invited to enter a competition to win a prize.

Example 2: You’re asked to check something by clicking on a link.

You might be asked to check your credit card details by clicking on a link. You may receive a fake myGov message, asking you to check on your tax return, debt, or refund.

Example 3: You’re asked to upload photographs for money.

You might even be asked to upload photograph images in return for a payment. By clicking on a link, you may, without knowing it, sign up to a costly subscription service, or download malicious software.

Always be wary. If you dial a telephone number or click on the link within a message from an unknown sender, then you may supply enough information for the scammer to use your identity to defraud you. Or the scammer could defraud others, by pretending to be you.

Who’s behind these SMS scams?

Scammers can be convincing fraudsters and can be either:

  • Individuals, acting alone or:
  • Members of large, sophisticated, global enterprises.

Regardless of their size, scammers set out to deliberately mislead someone into:

  • Handing over money.
  • Divulging bank account details, or
  • Sharing sensitive personal information.

How do I block these unwanted messages?

It’s easy to filter messages from unknown senders on your phone. Just follow the instructions on the links below.

Got an iPhone? Here’s all the info you need here.

Got an Android? Get started with this article.

How can I stay safe?

It’s a good idea to be wary about any text message you receive that asks you to:

  • Call a number you don’t know.
  • Click on a link you haven’t seen before.
  • Contact someone who you don’t know.
  • Send an image to an unknown message sender.

Check out these simple dos and don’ts.

Do:

  • Make sure that you lock your device with a secure PIN.
  • Regularly change your passwords and PINs.
  • Only use passwords that have strong and complex characters.
  • Set up 2-factor authentication wherever possible.
  • Immediately let your financial institution know if you think you’ve lost money to a scammer.

Don’t:

  • Click on links in messages from unknown senders or numbers.
  • Supply any of important details over SMS, or by clicking links, such as your:
    • Name
    • Credit card
    • Date of birth
    • Medicare number
    • Tax file number
    • myGov identity or
    • Passport details

See Scamwatch for more info

Scamwatch.gov.au is an authentic and helpful place for scam information. You can also sign up to get regular email alerts about scams targeting consumers.

Seen a scam within any of our brands?

Report it to our team here.

Worried customers might block your SMS?

See the 10 golden rules for texting etiquette here.

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