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How do I avoid phone and SMS scams?

As mobiles and tablets are becoming our first choice to access the internet, cyber-crime groups are using scam calls and SMS scams to defraud you or trick you into disclosing personal information.

Report a scam now:

SMS and call scams can be reported to the ACCC on 1300 795 995 or on SCAMwatch


Know what to watch for:

Common phone scams

  • Calls from people who say they’re from well-known government departments and private companies
  • Callers warning that your computer is infected with a virus and requesting credit card details to fix it. These callers may also download and install remote access software on your computer, to try and extract personal or business information
  • Calls seeking bank details in order to process a bank fee refund or tax refund
  • Calls offering to put your number on the Do Not Call Register for a fee. Registration on the Do Not Call Register is free and can be organised through their website


Tips to avoid phone scams:

  • If you get a call from an unknown person, always ask for the person’s name, whom they represent and their employee ID
  • If you’re not sure that the caller is legitimate, hang up and call the organisation by using their official contact details
  • Do not share your personal, credit card or online account details UNLESS:
    •  you made the call, and
    • the number you called was from a trusted source, like a website that you know is legitimate
  • Be careful of phone numbers beginning with 190. These are charged at a premium rate and can be expensive
  • If you think something's not quite right or is suspicious just hang up. If it is an SMS delete it and do not reply


Common SMS scams

  • Texts promising unexpected prizes that require you to send money to claim them
  • Mysterious text messages that can cost you a lot of money if you reply to them


Examples of SMS scams:

  • Congratulations! You were lucky. You have been chosen among 100 thousand people. You won a new iPad from us. http://ti7.in/61407242494
  • Congrats, [name]! You’ve Won 500.00 AUD To Spend at Aldi! Get your Free Card NO: www.acrvip.com/n/ascM9w9
  • Hello, There’s is a Coles giftcard issued to your account. You can validate here now: https://dydci.com/v2FFYtL   Thank you, Amy K. Customer Service


Tips to avoid SMS scams:

  • Never call a number contained in a spam SMS
  • Look out for SMS and MMS numbers that start with 19xx. These are charged at a premium rate and can be expensive. Also look out for numbers that start with an international country code other than Australia (which is +61)
  • Never reply to an SMS from a number or person you cannot identify - even to unsubscribe
  • Report SMS scams to the ACCC on 1300 795 995 or on SCAMwatch
  • If you received an SMS or communication from Telstra that you believe is a scam, you can report it directly via our Report Misuse of Service page


Missed call scams

This works by making a very short call to your mobile phone number so you don’t have time to pick it up - then you see a missed call number.

The warning signs:

  • You don't recognise the phone number
  • The phone number starts with 190, which is a premium rate service
  • The number starts with an international country code other than +61 (Australia)
  • If you return the missed call, a recorded service advises you to call a 190 number


If you notice any of these warning signs, and you do call back:

  • You’ll hear a pre-recorded message telling you to call a 190 number to win a prize, claim a refund or discuss a legal matter

This 190 number will usually be charged at a premium rate and can be expensive






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