Fake text messages on the rise, but experts warn Australians most losses are from more sophisticated scams

2 weeks ago 16

Financial scams person go much blase and easier to perpetrate, ballooning into a billion-dollar manufacture successful Australia, experts person warned.

Last twelvemonth much than 239,000 scams worthy $570m were reported to Scamwatch, but the organisation says the existent fig is overmuch higher, arsenic lone astir 13% of scams are reported.

Investment scams stay the fig 1 hazard for Australians, but determination has been an summation successful phoney substance messages, specified arsenic the “hi mum” scam, successful which fraudsters nonstop a substance connection pretending to beryllium a household member.

Some caller examples person been highly sophisticated, with scammers calling from numbers that look to beryllium based successful Australia and pretending to beryllium from either the victim’s slope oregon a institution specified arsenic Amazon, stating their relationship has been compromised and asking for idiosyncratic data.

Dan Halpin, the main enforcement of Cybertrace, a institution that specialises successful cyber fraud investigation, said scams were becoming highly sophisticated.

“We person noticed an evident alteration successful the level of sophistication and unfortunate manipulation implicit the past 2 years,” Haplin said. “As with immoderate transgression method, the longer it is used, the much refined it becomes.”

Haplin said fake cryptocurrency oregon forex broker websites were inactive the astir communal scam, but determination was an expanding inclination successful online job/hotel booking adjunct scams.

“Like the ‘hi mum’ scams, the online job/hotel booking adjunct scams are often conducted via WhatsApp and different akin messaging platforms,” helium said.

“We foresee that this scam benignant volition impact galore much Australians successful the coming months and it is decidedly 1 to beryllium alert of.”

On Saturday a 21-year-old Melbourne antheral was charged with 5 counts of obtaining spot by deception successful transportation with the “hi mum” scam. He volition look successful tribunal successful July.

Quick Guide

Scams successful Australia


In 2022 determination were 239,247 scams reported to Scamwatch. Of these, 12.1% of victims suffered a fiscal loss, totalling $569m.

Australians mislaid the astir to concern scams ($377m) past romance scams ($40m) and mendacious billing ($25m).

The largest magnitude of money, $141m, was mislaid done scams conducted implicit the phone, from 63,821 reported scams.

Those conducted implicit societal media were the adjacent astir effective, with 13,425 reports and $80m lost. 

More scams were delivered via substance connection than immoderate different means, with 79,835 reports, but they accounted for losses of lone $28m.


Haplin said Australians were a fashionable people for overseas syndicates due to the fact that they were much trusting, had larger savings owed to superannuation and debased cyber fraud literacy.

Despite the expanding ingenuity of immoderate scams, they did not needfully necessitate high-level technological ability, Haplin said.

“Today, though the high-return scams are decidedly operated by professionals with important method and concern capability, the hullo mum scams punctual america that scams tin beryllium debased cost, debased hazard and precocious reward.”

Aya (not her existent name) was targeted erstwhile she was looking for a occupation this month. Within 2 days she mislaid $7,000 – her full savings.

The 35-year-old was looking for a full-time occupation done recruitment agencies erstwhile she was contacted implicit WhatsApp and offered a trial. Struggling financially, she jumped astatine the accidental to bring location much money.

The website Aya was offered ‘a job’ for is inactive  up   and successful  use.
The website Aya was offered ‘a job’ for is inactive up and successful use

Aya was enactment successful interaction with a pistillate who said she worked for the American originative improvement institution Naked, a existent institution that has nary transportation to the scam, and who offered her a occupation optimising data.

The pistillate directed her to a website wherever “training” for the occupation would beryllium conducted.

“She signed maine in, she credited an account, and it was similar she was giving maine training, she went done each step,” Aya said.

Aya was told that to onshore a wage she archetypal had to extremity wealth into an account, via Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange. The much wealth she enactment in, the much rewards were generated and the much she would get back.

She was doubtful, but the institution enactment $800 successful to commencement and she was added to a radical that appeared to person 30 different radical with Australian telephone numbers who were each talking astir however large the occupation was.

“It was similar gambling, the website, each of it was similar a slot machine,” she said. “Your equilibrium went from antagonistic to positive, past erstwhile it was backmost to antagonistic you had to enactment successful different deposit.”

Conversations betwixt  Aya and the scammers turned threatening aft  she refused to springiness  immoderate  much  money.
Conversations betwixt Aya and the scammers turned threatening aft she refused to springiness immoderate much money

Aya was threatened by the scammers erstwhile she said she had nary much wealth to enactment in.

She contacted her bank, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and the Cyber and Infrastructure Security Centre, but was told determination was thing they could bash due to the fact that she was transferring wealth done Binance. The website is inactive operating.

“I’m truly ashamed astir what’s happened,” Aya said. “I conscionable privation different radical to beryllium aware. Don’t spell done what I went through.”

Australia’s large telcos accidental they artifact millions of scam calls and texts each time but scammers rapidly larn to accommodate and debar the roadblocks introduced to halt them.

Ashish Nanda of the Centre for Cyber Security Research and Innovation astatine Deakin University said it was astir intolerable to get wealth backmost erstwhile it was transferred to cryptocurrencies.

“The slope can’t bash anything, you’ve already converted your wealth into crypto,” helium said. “You tin effort and way it, but there’s nary reversing it.”

Scammers often knew capable astir their victims – their address, the slope they use, their fiscal past – to cognize however to play connected their emotions, helium said.

The champion happening anyone could bash was debar being scammed successful the archetypal place, helium said.

“If radical are alert of however scams happen, past they whitethorn not put the funds, oregon they’ll astatine slightest deliberation twice.”

Read Entire Article