Thu, 21 Jun, 2018Danielle McCarthy

How to identify SMS scams

How to identify SMS scams

Lisa Du is director of ReadyTechGo, a service that helps people gain the confidence and skills to embrace modern technology. 

For years, scammers have been calling landline phones in attempts to scam people, or via unsolicited emails. As more and more of us move from landline numbers to using mobile phones, and the ability for mobile phones now connected to the internet, scammers are now creating SMS competitions and message scams sent directly to your mobile phone.  

I've received two text message scams in the last two weeks, and without thinking, one can quite easily follow their links, and be caught out.

Identify the scam

This is a screenshot of the scam sent to my mobile:

  • This "photo" message comes from a number that is not on my contact list - Not sure why a stranger would send me a photo 
  • "Tap to Load Preview" – The scammer wants the recipient to tap on the "photo", which will most likely take the recipient to a website that will try to sign you up to dubious services they offer 
  • The link URL shows underneath the "Tap to Load Preview" area, and states which looks dodgy to me! 

This is a common SMS scam which has been circulating:

  • A text message phishing scam which comes from what seems like a legitimate institution like a bank. These scammers hope you will follow their link and will try to gain your confidence by not asking for your personal information right away. Then the message will prompt you to input your bank login details, personal information or a PIN via the link they provide

Don't be fooled! If you're ever in doubt about security linked to your online banking, please visit the website of your bank.

Don't follow any links provided via text message or via email.

Another scam:

  • A text message warning the recipient that their iTunes account has been frozen.

If you look at the link in the message "htto://" is not a legitimate Apple website, so that is the first identifier of a scam.

Again, when in doubt, visit the Apple website directly to log into your account.

  • There is also a spelling error in this message "Claim your accridited funds"
  • The link provided is ""  

Similar to email scams, always have a look at the "link" address, and it sounds like goobly gook – it’s a scam!!

Please pass this information on to friends and family so they are aware of circulating scams, too.