How to know when you’re seeing a JB HiFi SMS scam

Any day appears to be a good day for the JB HiFi prize scam to rear its head, and if you get an SMS from JBHiFi, you shouldn’t click the link.

Scams seem to be something of a regularity lately, especially for Australians, and they’re definitely having an affect.

Last week was National Scam Awareness Week, but that hasn’t stopped scammers one bit.

If anything, they appear to have stepped it up just a bit. In fact, this week we’ve seen another common scam rear its ugly head again, as the JB HiFi SMS scam returns once more.

The JB HiFi scam isn’t a scam from the retailer JB. Rather, it’s a scammer pretending to be the national electronic and media store, tempting anyone with a phone with the promise of a free phone or other gadget — a gift, essentially — simply by filling out a survey.

Of course, there’s no gift and no prize, and if you follow the directions, you’ll end up losing out, potentially handling your credit card details to scammers that will end up taking out more than the tiny shipping price they promised for your “free” gift.

So what’s going on in this scam, and what are the signs you should be looking for?

Read the web address in the message

JB HiFi SMS scan

The first thing you need to check out is the web address link in the message. That’s the www dot whatever, or in this case, the http whatever.

Scammers don’t have access to jbhifi.com.au, so they use a short link generator, a system that shrinks their scam website address to something much shorter. In this message, it’s rslosl.com.

Never mind the fact that JB HiFi isn’t likely to send you an SMS, if it did, it wouldn’t use a web address so obscure as that. Nope.

If you click, pay attention to little details

If you do end up clicking on the link in the SMS, you’ll find yourself at a pay that purports to be JB HiFi. Except it’s not. Not at all.

The JB HiFi SMS scams are all pretty typical in what they do, and most of these scammers don’t actually pay attention to the details, so you definitely should.

The JB HiFi used on a scam

These details include bad grammar and spelling, as well as poorly designed graphics. Take the opening box, which says “Congratulation! You have been chosen”. It might seem small, but we don’t say “congratulation”; we say “congratulations”, and JB HiFi knows that. A scammers from a different country? Less so.

The placement of the iconic yellow and black JB HiFi logo on white text is another giveaway. JB’s colour scheme is yellow and black. You know that when you walk into a JB store, and if you head to the official JB HiFi webpage. Placing a logo so obviously on a white page looks clearly like it would be out of JB’s brand guidelines, so there’s no way this is official.

If you click the “OK” button, the scam actually says at the bottom that the “website is not affiliated with or endorsed by JB HiFi”. It’s not likely that would ever protect the scammer from a lawsuit, but it should be a dead giveaway to you that this isn’t JB HiFi at all.

Note how the JB HiFi scam isn't affiliated or endorsed by JB HiFi

Check the web address in your browser bar

The most obvious sign is one you should always check, and one scammers can’t fake.

In the browser bar where the website address goes, you might expect to be at JB HiFi, but where you’re actually at is something way, way different.

For this JB HiFi SMS scam, it’s lander.giveaways-online.com, a website that has nothing in common with JB HiFi, and even has a bunch of codes after it to help inform the scammer about you.

You should always pay attention to the address here, and if it doesn’t seem right, close that window down immediately. This is true of pretty much any and every scam.

A dodgy URL on a JB HiFi SMS scam

Always remember that scammers can’t use the official web address of a company, and so they have to come up with creative alternatives. They might buy something similar, or they might not care.

As a whole, scammers know that most people don’t know what to look for, and so may not bother to hide or disguise the look of their obviously fake website.

We’re seeing more bank scams with similar names, so it’s clear some scammers are getting a little smarter, making it more difficult for everyone. However that doesn’t apply to all.

But it says it’s secure!

One point that tries to push the belief home that it’s real is the security lock, plus the secure connection image at the bottom of the page.

The problem with that logic is the security lock doesn’t actually mean a website is authentic. Rather, a security lock just means a website is using a security certificate, which doesn’t mean it’s a real site.

Security certificates can cost money and they can be free, but they don’t guarantee the site is real. They just mean the information that you’ll transmit in your web browser will be secure.

Don’t look at the lock and think it’s an authentic website. It’s just a bit of security that most websites need.

If you were to go through with the JB HiFi SMS scam

Free gifts aren't really free in scams

Let’s say you ignore all of the things we’ve suggested and continue on with the scam.

If you answer all of the rather irrelevant questions about your JB HiFi experiences, if you follow the buttons and believe what you see, the scammers will eventually promise a gift that has a remarkable saving, generally of a good thousand bucks or so.

In this example, it was a Samsung Galaxy S10 for “$0.00” with one dollar shipping.

Sound too good to be true? It is.

Click through to the next page and you’ll see yet another page going to yet another website telling you to claim your phone, a different phone, giving you a timer telling you to claim it quickly. There’s even a Norton Secured logo, so it must be real, right?

Nope. Throw your email in and you’ll just start down a funnel of scams, and open yourself up to even more. The image and website is fairly easy to fake, and at one point, you’ll be asked for your credit card details to get that “free” phone out with the one dollar shipping.

If you’ve already guessed you won’t be charged a buck to get a phone, and that scammers will likely take you for a whole lot more, you’ve caught the scam.

If you're at this point in a prize scam, give up. There's no prize at all.
It might be tempting, but you don’t want to go down this path. It’ll just lead you to more scams, and throwing your credit card into a form that will end up taking your money for nothing.

Free gift and prize scams are incredibly common

The problem with scams advertising a free gift or a prize is that they’re incredibly common. Sadly, people believe them all too easily.

It’s very easy to want to believe you’ve won something, and that a free gift is possible, but it’s better to pay attention to the warning signs.

Australians lost almost half a billion dollars to scams last year, and this year, the number will likely increase. Scammers make big money off everyone, and the number of scams are increasing.

As such, people need to pay attention to what lands in their inboxes and phone message banks. Scammers can fake the send name of SMS messages to make their messages more believable, but we can work out the flaws by paying attention to details in their messages.

For the JB HiFi SMS scams, know that JB won’t send you a message like this, and that merely shopping at SMS won’t likely enter you into a prize draw of any kind. These scams won’t go away, either, and will only increase in frequency, so the more you remember and pay attention to, the less likely you’ll be caught later on down the track.