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

Telstra eyes Feb 29 Leap Day to snitch on scammers

Did you get a scam recently? Report it on the extra Thursday of the year, which is coincidentally the weekday where the most scams are reported.

It seems that scams never end, and that we’re always seeing scammers attempt to pull one over us, with another scam arriving on our phones almost daily. Most aren’t new, with scams rarely treading new ground, though they can still ensnare anyone.

Delivery scams, fake receipt scams, Wangiri scams... you name it, scammers are doing what they can to ensure the hundreds of millions lost to their nefarious ways grows in leaps and bounds, disappearing from the pockets of everyday individuals and into the bank accounts of criminals.

The good news is that education can help cut back on the number of people who fall for scams, as can reporting the scam.

Reporting a scam to the ACCC’s Scamwatch program is one way to help the government track scams and their damage to the country, but another is to report mobile scams to telcos in the hopes they can do something about it.

That’s largely what Telstra’s national scam number was set up for last year, with the 7226 SMS scam number (which spells “SCAM” if you look at the old keys) seeing over 250,000 potential SMS and MMS scams since it was launched. Telstra noted that parcel and delivery scams seem to be among the most common, while Thursdays were the most common day for people to report the scams.

As a result, Telstra has suggested this year’s extra day — the Thursday that is February 29 — is “ScamBuster Thursday”, suggesting that Australians make sure to report scams when they see them.

“Last year Aussies lost more than 1.3 million dollars a day, which is why we truly believe every day matters, and every report helps us to find more scams so we can block them and help keep others safe,” said Darren Pauli, Cyber Security Expert at Telstra.

“While Telstra blocks millions of scams each month through our Cleaner Pipes program, we know some still slip through, which is why we need everyone’s help to keep reporting scams so we can block even more,” he said.

“Urgency is key though. The minute you see a scam report it. The faster we see it, the quicker we can act.”

Officially, Telstra’s reporting number can be used by forwarding a scam to the number 7226, and while Telstra customers are obviously the ones likely doing it, Android users with another telco can forward scams to the number, too.

That’s not the only way to report scams, though. If you get email scams, mark them as spam or junk to train the filters in your mail application and service, and as always, be sure to take every message with a grain of salt, lest you find yourself fooling down a rabbit hole of scams yourself.

Read next