Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is aware of current reports about consumers receiving unexpected messages with a link to access a missed call or voicemail.

If you’ve received one of these messages, do not open the link. The messages are generated by malware called Flubot. If you open the link, the malware may use your contact list to send similar text messages to other people without your knowledge, potentially infecting their device. It may also access your personal information and banking details.

If you receive one of these SMS messages:

  • Report it to Scamwatch
  • Delete the message and block the number if it is unknown
  • Do not call the number unless you are sure you recognise it
  • If the malware installs itself, then contact your bank immediately and ensure your accounts are secure
  • If you have lost personal information to a scammer, you can contact IDCARE or call 1800 595 160
  • You can also make a report to ReportCyber if you have been a victim of this cybercrime.

What does the data reported to Scamwatch Australia tell us?

New data released from Scamwatch Australia has reinforced the sophistication and rapidly growing number of scams each year in Australia – which has caused a loss of over $851 million* in total in 2020 – $328 million of which related to investment scams. It is extremely important for you to remain vigilant and reach out to me, your trusted professional, before investing your retirement savings into a new product or service.

Aussies lost more than $176 million to scams during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic

During 2020, the average monetary value lost to scams has increased by 23%. Scammers have become more sophisticated in their approach, claiming to be from well-known investment organisations or government bodies, with the aim of extracting personal information from an individual.

Older Australians (65+) are often more at risk of being approached by scammers as they perceive this particular age group to have more accumulated wealth.

The top contact methods used by scammers include phone (47.7%), email (22%), text message (15%), internet (6.3%) and social networking (4.5%)*. Scammers will often inject a sense of urgency into their messaging, propose threats (particularly with tax scams), and request personal and banking information.

Finally, some words of advice

  • If you have lost money to a scam, contact your financial institution immediately.
  • If you have provided personal information and you are concerned your identity may be compromised, you can contact IDCARE for free support on 1800 595 160.
  • Consider contacting the organisation the suspected scammer claims to work for – the organisation may be able to confirm your suspicions.

Turn to family and friends and tell them

If you have been scammed or believe you have been scammed, you shouldn’t feel embarrassed or ashamed. Financial scams are now crimes which are occurring regularly – many scams are very sophisticated and professional, and very experienced investors have lost money by ‘being taken for a ride’. It is becoming increasingly important to discuss the risk of scams with family, friends, and peers.

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General Advice Warning: The content of this newsletter is for the clients of Best Interest Advice and it’s other  related services. The content is general advice only and has not considered your personal situation or objectives and cannot be relied upon. Please consult a financial adviser to provide you with personal advice. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information as it is sourced from third parties and general media. All attempts to verify its contents have been made and we only rely on reputable sources.