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SMS scams

Your phone bleeps to alert you that a text message has arrived and when you open the SMS it’s from an unidentified number, proclaiming a cash or prize win in a promotion you don’t remember entering.

Even though you would hope most of us would press delete, sometimes people are vulnerable; perhaps struggling financially or not savvy to the world of scams. More often than not we’re just afraid of missing out, and the temptation to double-check whether the offer is real proves too much.

WA ScamNet’s advice is to ignore that niggling feeling and get rid of such text messages without responding in any way. We all know there is no such thing as a “free lunch” and recently we have seen three different SMS scams turning up on mobiles across Western Australia.

Throughout January 2011, we have received about 40 calls regarding a text message claiming to be from a world-renowned mobile manufacturer. The message says that as part of the company’s 40 year anniversary celebrations, your phone number has been picked as the winner of ?600,000. All you have to do to redeem the prize is email the claim number to a gmail account address.

There have been more than a dozen enquiries about an SMS falsely purporting to be from a Japanese car manufacturer. The text advises the receiver that they have won a $580k car. This has prompted a warning by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)

Plus there have also been several calls about a scam text message promoting a “free lotto”, supposedly based in the UK.

If you respond to any of these texts, the scammers will find a way to extort money from you, associated with your “winning claim”. They’ll say the payment is for fees, such as taxes or shipping. This is known as advance fee fraud.  The money you are paying up-front will not result in you getting anything in return. The only winner will be the person, or people, behind the bogus promotion.

You can report SMS spam to the Australian Communication and Media Authority – find out how on the ACMA website

Created 22 June 2011
Updated 10 September 2013