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

SMS scams ramp up, how to tell when you get one

If you’re getting messages about deliveries and videos from random numbers, it’s not you, but rather a bunch of scams.

The year has truly begun, and while that might mean still keeping up some of the trends from previous years — wearing masks, socially distancing, trying not to think about the virus that has made the news and social media one giant doomscroll — we’re also seeing scammers keep up a trend of their own: dodgy links in dodgy SMS.

Your phone isn’t safe, it appears, just a new year is upon us, and recently it seems not even Telstra’s Cleaner Pipes initiative is much help, as SMS scams make it through the net.

In the past few weeks, we’ve seen scams ramp up with bad links and silly messaging, all in the hopes that you’ll click without thinking. Some are convincing, others markedly less so, and yet all follow the same pattern: a text from a random mobile number, a small sentence, a thoroughly scrambled link with a mostly nonsensical URL, and a mark of punctuation somewhere in the text, either before the link or after it.

This seems to be the pattern of a dodgy SMS scam in 2022, though one that aims to lure you in with similar tactics to previous years: a link that gets you to fill out a form, hand over details, and hope for a prize that’ll never turn up, all while your details are captured and used for other purposes.

Each of these is a scam, whether you’re being told about a package that needs to be picked up or a video of you that’s been found online.

The goal of each SMS is clear: scammers want you to click the link because something is apparently there for you, even if that’s not actually the case. Do not click the link. Just delete the message and move on.

Some of the links are a little stranger than others, but from the testing we’ve done, they almost all follow the same process, redirecting you to a scam site to ask for your details.

Just like the Woolies scams and Uber scams and JB HiFi gift card SMS scams of previous years, these are the same scams, but packaged up to be something a little different.

Don’t get fooled, and when one of these messages arrives, do the right thing and flick that message in the bin.

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