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(AUSTRALIA) SCAM ALERT REPORT: Have you been getting scam texts with ‘missed voicemails’? Here’s why, and what you should do #AceNewsDesk report

#AceNewsReport – Aug.13: Hack asked the Australian Competition and Consumer Competition — a government body that runs Scamwatch — if this text message scam has become a big thing, and what you should do if you keep getting these texts.

#AceDailyNews reports DO NOT CLICK ON A LINK: If you do click on the link, it’ll take you to a site that shows your phone number, the alleged length of the “missed message” (e.g. 2 minutes and 34 seconds), and a link to ‘Download voicemail app’ and instructions to enable the download of the application if initially blocked by the phone: To reiterate: DONT CLICK ON THE LINK

One person said that the first time I got a scam text message saying I had an unopened voicemail to listen to, I was alarmed for two reasons: firstly because I don’t like voicemails (just send me a text); secondly — after I realised it was dodgy — how was the scam text coming through from a seemingly normal number? Thursday 12 August 2021 3:42pm

Scam text message voicemail

So, how big is the scam and what impact is it having in Australia?

It looked like this, and I’ve had a bunch more pretty much identical messages come through since, all from different numbers with Australian area codes.

I’ve had tonnes of scam calls in the past — from weird overseas numbers, or sometimes regular Australian ones, asking me stuff about gas bills, or something equally random — but but I’ve never had a scam text like this before. 

Turns out I’m not the only one going through it. 

Australian comedian Em Rusciano got on to it too and asked phone provider Telstra for some answers. 

In short, Telstra explained that the messages come from “legit devices all around the world” and are difficult to block. 

The point of the scam is for users to click on the link in the message (it should go without saying: don’t click on the link), which will download some nasty malware to your phone. 

Advice from Scamwatch

An ACCC spokesperson said the scam had been reported over 300 times in just over a week – after it was first reported on August 4. 

“We have no reported financial losses to this scam, and no reported instances of individuals installing the malware. Many reporters note they are receiving one new text message of this scam daily.”

The ACCC said if downloaded, the malware has the ability to initiate a phone call without your permission, send and receive texts, and read your contact data. 

So, what should you do if you get a scam text like this? The ACCC has some tips:

  • Do not click the link and delete the text message
  • Do not call back the individual who sent the text as they are unlikely to be the scammer. It is possible their device is not infected and their number has been spoofed.
  • Make a report to ReportCyber if you have been a victim of this cybercrime.
  • You can also report to Scamwatch here.
  • If you have lost personal information to a scammer and are concerned you can contact IDCARE or call 1800 595 160.
  • If you have installed the malware, contact your bank and ensure your accounts are secure and contact an IT professional.

The ACCC also told Hack they’d be warning the public about the scam and sharing their intel on the scam with Australian telco providers. 

#AceNewsDesk report …….Published: Aug.13: 2021:

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