What are they?

SMS scams use similar tactics as email scams and are commonly known as ‘smishing’ (SMS and phishing).

It’s important to know what SMS scams look like, because it isn’t always strange texts from unknown numbers. In fact, some fraudsters use technology to make their messages look as though they are from financial institutions or government agencies.

Signs of SMS scams

Be wary if you receive a text message that:

  • Asks for sensitive information, such as pins or passcodes, tells you that you’re owed a refund, or that there is a problem with your account.
  • Doesn’t contain any specific greeting or account information.
  • Encourages you to act fast, open a link or respond to the message.
  • Includes no contact details.
  • Uses capital letters or frightening language to encourage you to take action.
  • Tells you a specific amount has been withdrawn from your account.

You might also be offered the chance to win amazing prizes and getaways via text, or even automated voicemail messages. Again, you should avoid responding or downloading supposedly free software due to the risk of malware being installed.

How to protect yourself

  • Never give your Internet Banking details, passcodes or PINs to anyone via text.
  • Never call the number included in the text. Call the company using a number from a trusted source, like on a bill, statement, phone book or search engine.
  • Keep your phone's operating system up to date.
  • If you have already clicked on a suspicious link, you should run a scan with your anti-virus software to check your device for any malicious software.
Remember, we will never send you an SMS text message asking for your account details or your log in details for Phone Banking, Mobile Banking or Internet Banking.

If you think you have been the victim of an SMS scam, you should:

  • Contact us immediately on (08) 8202 7777
  • Report it to ASIC and the police via cyber.gov.au
  • Change your passwords and PINs straight away if you suspect your security has been compromised
  • Contact IDCARE on 1300 432 273 or via idcare.org. IDCARE is a free, Government-funded service that provides support to victims of identity crime
  • Visit the Scamwatch website for more information on scams.