Text or SMS was the most reported contact method for scams last year. Scam messages sound urgent to get you to act quickly. They often have a link which will take you to a scam website. Scammers can steal any personal information entered on these scam websites and use it to take your money or commit fraud in your name.

To make these message look real, scammers spoof (copy) the phone number and sender ID of businesses or people you know. Scam messages can even appear in the same message chain as real messages from the organisation, making them even harder to spot.

Warning signs it might be a scam

Stop and think. There's a good chance it's a scam if the message asks you to:

  • take immediate action 
  • make a payment or transfer money
  • click on a link or call a number provided in the message
  • log on to an online account with your username and password or to provide other personal information

To rush you into acting, the text might also claim something urgent like:

  • you or your accounts have been hacked or involved in fraud
  • there's problem with your payment or your package delivery 
  • threatening to stop a service or charge a fine if you don't act now.

Steps you can take to protect yourself

Never to click on links in messages

Search for the website yourself or use the organisations secure, authenticated app or portal to see if it is real.

Always do an independent check that the person is who they say they are

  • Don’t respond to a text message using the phone number provided.
  • Call the organisation or person back on a phone number you have found yourself (on their website or in the phone book) to check if the message was real.
  • Be suspicious of any job offer by text, especially without an interview or discussion.  Research the person offering the position and only contact them using a phone number you've found yourself.

  • If someone you know messages you saying they have a new number:
    • try to call them on the existing number you have for them if someone says they have a new number
    • message them on the new number with a question only they would know the answer to check they are who they say they are.

Common Text or SMS scam types

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