Consumers Beware As Scams Go Mobile, Warns Telstra

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Phone scams jumped 700% last year as phoney Facebook and Twitter messages are also on the up.
Consumers beware: mobile phone scams may be hitting a screen near you. 

This warning from Telstra comes as as the number of dodgy telephone text message scams continue to increase in Australia. 

New figures just released show an almost seven-fold increase in the number of telephone scams reported to the ACCC in 2010. 

This week marks National Consumer Fraud Awareness Week, but it appears it’s not only mobiles that are getting more dangerous. 

Twitter and Facebook are now online targets for scammers, says software security provider, BitDefender. 

Telstra’s Officer of Internet Trust and Safety, Darren Kane, says the explosive growth in mobile services has meant cyber-crime is going mobile. 

“As smartphones become a primary way for Australians to access the internet, cyber-crime syndicates are turning their attention to mobile fraud — including through scam calls and SMS.”

 

Mobile users should  be alert to messages asking them for cash or personal details. 

And common phone scams comes from sources thought to be legit like government departments and private companies.  

Users have been fielding calls from people impersonating representatives from reputable agencies which turn out to be phoney, warns the telco. 

Other common scams include callers advising that the person’s computer is infected with a virus and requesting credit card details to fix the problem and seeking bank details in order to process a bank fee refund or tax refund.

“SMS is a great way to communicate or get things done quickly, without having to be face-to-face.  Unfortunately, scammers also love the faceless nature of SMS, using it to hide their identity,” says Kane.

“Some common SMS tricks include texts promising unexpected prizes that require you to send money in order to claim them, and, mysterious text messages that can cost you a lot of money if your reply to them.”

So, how can you avoid scams?

If you suspect a scammer is at work ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent, don’t share your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless from a trusted source, says Telstra.

 

Also, don’t respond to text messages or missed calls from numbers you don’t recognise.

Several Facebook scams are also doing the rounds including messages invited users to “see your first status”, “see who viewed your profile” and “your top stalker,” all of which  had been sent from the same user account. 

These malicious URL scams are profit orientated and are connected with phoney Twitter messages and should be avoided at all costs, says BitDefender.

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