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

Telstra, NAB detail scam insights about timing, phone use

You’re not going to escape the scourge of scams, it seems, but local companies are at least learning something about scammers, and ways to protect people from them.

Checking your SMS after waking up is just part of the regular routine for many of us, but if you’ve checked recently, you might have received a dodgy SMS in that time.

In the early hours of any given morning, you can expect a message from someone you’ve never heard of sending you a link you might accidentally press. It’s not just you, either. It’s everyone.

Telstra has this week chimed in with research to suggest scammers are working late nights to send messages between 1am and 4am, mostly to take advantage of people who might make a mistake and click.

“From all the data we’ve collected by blocking millions and millions of scams, we’ve noticed scammers love to target Australians on some days more than others,” said Darren Pauli, Cyber Security Expert at Telstra.

Fridays and Saturdays are the most common days for scammers to send their messages, but early mornings are also consistent, and the reason is clear: they don’t want you to stop and think.

Urgency is already a trademark of every other scam, and these attempts are no different.

“By targeting you at these times, scammers maximise their chances of success, exploiting moments when potential victims are not fully alert,” said Pauli.

At the same time, scammers are using AI to sound more Australian and less like the staccato non-English people are used to seeing, though the web addresses are clearly not the real deal. That’s still one way you can make sure you’re seeing a phishing site, which is what scammers aim to use to trick you.

Here’s a fake SMS scam we received in the early hours of the day this story was published. That URL is clearly not Bunnings, even if the SMS tries to suggest it’s legit.

Telstra isn’t the only company learning about scammers, either.

Aussie bank NAB has learned a few things from how scammers convince people to use their phones, as NAB CEO Andrew Irvine told people at the annual Australian Banking Association conference.

“Unfortunately, I do feel that criminals are going to continue to get more complex and capabilities like AI are going to increase the sophistication of attacks,” he said.

“We have and will continue to work hard as an industry whilst educating Australians to protect themselves.”

As part of that work, NAB is reportedly adding friction to payment processes to make people think about what they’re doing, particularly based on how they use their phone.

“For example, in some cases if we’re seeing someone sending a payment somewhere they haven’t before, we’re asking, ‘are you sure?’ and are looking at biometrics like keystrokes and how they use their phone. And if it’s different than what we’ve seen you doing in the past, our intelligence will kick in,” said Irvine.

In short, if you’ve changed how you use your phone to bank on your phone, the bank may have worked out that something is amiss, and offer some form of resistant to an automatic transfer of money.

It may not completely prevent scam bank transfers, but it could deliver a roadblock and a pause in the thought process, enough to make you say “wait, is what I’m doing legit”.

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