Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Omicron SMS scam after Aussie credit details

No day or issue is safe from scammers, as the weekend and the Omicron wave turned out a new scam scaring its way to phones across the country.

Even though Aussies have a variety of ways to go on the defence against SMS scams, they’re still trickling in.

While Telstra has a degree of artificial intelligence working for it in its Cleaner Pipes program, and Australia’s other telcos are no doubt working on something similar, the scams are still seeping on in, coming in and making your day-to-day a touch more complex, as you try to work out which message is real and which one is fake.

If you receive a message purporting to be from “Medicare” about being near someone who has tested positive from Omicron, you might want to take it with a grain of salt.

While the Omicron wave is definitely happening in Australia and something of a risk, Medicare is not sending out messages to tell you to get an Omicron test kit, and text messages going out advising you to click a link are yet another scam.

What’s going on, and how do you know?

A Medicare SMS scam

We’re not the only ones who have picked up on this, and while it’s not the first time we’ve seen government details implied for scams before, it surely won’t be the last. Phishing scams pretending to be from the government seem to be weekly at the moment, and this is just another on a word ending with “day”.

However, the latest SMS scam attempt is easily capitalising on what’s happening in Australia with a rise in Omicron infections.

Simply put, it reads like this:

Medicare: You have been in close proximity with somebody who is positive for omicron. Please immediately get a test kit now through: LINK.

The message lacks obvious spelling errors and looks possibly authentic, but is clearly anything but. Yet another of the many scams out in the world, this one asks you to check out a website to get a free test site.

But this is just another attempt at phishing with a “Medicare” website advertising that it is “An official website of the Australian government”, despite having a .gov and not a banner.

There’s some text on the site talking about Australian scientists and how you can get an Omicron test kit, plus a form, which is how the scam works.

Simply put, scammers want you to fill in the form, and then make your way through to the credit card screen, where they say you’ll be charged a processing fee to get your Omicron test kit.

How you know the Omicron SMS scam is a scam

Ignoring the obvious details — the use of a dot gov, not Australian version — this fake phishing version of a government website also lacks real links. Nothing works properly, be it the menu item or links, because they don’t need to. The scam doesn’t need to cater for complexity, and is just going for credit card details.

Running a WHOIS on the website link, we found that shock horror, the website isn’t run by the Australian government, and for some reason has a logo purporting to be from the Department of Health & Human Services USA at the bottom, not the one from Australia. Details aren’t always the thing scammers think of, with just enough needed to trick you into giving your details, rather than getting them all.

But you shouldn’t be fooled, and if you receive something like this over SMS, hit delete rather than hit the link. It’s not worth the time or the risk.

Another detail in the scam, this logo is from the American Department of Health & Human Services, not the Australian one.


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