SMS windfall for scammers

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SCAMwatch has recently received complaints from consumers who have been sent unsolicited text messages or SMSs advising that they have won an unexpected prize, usually money. The amount of the 'big win' is usually around US$123,000 and the phone numbers from where the messages are being sent start with the numbers 856207. These details may change.

Reports to SCAMwatch suggest that the text messages appear to come from overseas and requests a return message with a name and an email address to where details of the win can be sent.

Some messages may already include a reply email address for the scammer for speedier contact.

Anyone responding will find themselves being asked for personal details and an upfront fee of thousands of dollars to release a non-existent prize.

Responding will also confirm the phone number to the scammers and provide spammers with a new email address to target.

Warning signs

  • An unsolicited text message is sent to your mobile phone telling you that you have won an unexpected prize.
  • The message asks you to respond with an email address where details of your win can be sent.
  • The email will lead to requests for personal details including information about your bank accounts, credit cards, personal documents and payment of an upfront fee.

Protect yourself

  • DELETE the message —reporting it first may help to alert other consumers.
  • DO NOT REPLY ‘Stop’—the message is not from a mobile premium service. Replying will only confirm your details to scammers and put you on a ‘target list’.
  • Never send money, or give credit card or online account details to anyone.

Report

  • Report the matter via the ‘Report a scam’ page in SCAMwatch. You should also be sure to warn your friends, family, colleagues and neighbours about the scammer.

More information

  • Explore SCAMwatch to find out more about scams and tips on how to protect yourself.

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Unexpected prize and lottery scams work by asking you to pay some sort of fee in order to claim your prize or winnings from a competition or lottery you never entered.