'Definitely going to trick people': Warning over 'evil' Australia Post scam this Christmas

Consumers are being warned to watch out for a convincing Australia Post text message scam as fraudsters continue to spam Aussies heading into the holiday season.

A text message scam which fraudulently appears to be from the postal service was shared online this week with the recipient describing it as “evil”.

“This is definitely going to trick a bunch of people,” they said.

Australia Post says it regularly trained staff to spot scams and help customers if they had any concerns.

“We strongly advise people against clicking any links in such texts or making any payments, and that they delete the SMS,” a spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia.

“We remind people that Australia Post will never contact anyone via SMS asking for personal information, financial information or to make a payment.”

From Woolworths to Spotify, to banks and telcos, scammers typically try to pass themselves off as coming from recognisable and trustworthy companies that people deal with on a regular basis.

“Scammers often pretend to be real business. Always do your research on any offer before paying money, subscribing or giving over your information,” the ACCC’s Scamwatch said on Wednesday.

It warned about a potential increase in these sorts of parcel delivery scams like the Australia Post one above coming into Christmas.

These types of scams may ask you to print off a label, do a survey, claim a prize, or view the status of your delivery by clicking on a link or downloading an attachment, Scamwatch says.

Some fraudsters may even call or text with claims about an unsuccessful delivery.

They are aimed at getting people to download malware onto their device possibly giving remote access to thieves, or getting people to give up their personal information.

According to the ACCC, Aussie consumers lost about $31,000 to these sorts of scams in 2018.

“Scammers will take advantage of special days or major events like Christmas to fleece people of their money or personal information,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said on Wednesday.

There has been a proliferation on text message scams, authorities warn. Source: Scamwatch

Government’s multi-pronged crackdown on scammers

Australians have lost more than half a billion dollars to scammers this year.

Now, the federal government is cracking down on the most common telephone frauds.

A trial being launched next year will target call-back scams, where fraudsters ring once and hang up, then when people call back their calls are charged at a premium rate.

Another trial will look to weed out problematic phone networks that carry a high volume of scam traffic.

A third trial has begun involving the government's already announced crackdown on fraudulent phone porting, which allows crooks to steal people's numbers.

Scammers have been using numbers for the Australian Tax Office and the NBN Co to rip off Australians.

The government has already asked telcos to use new authentication methods when people change numbers to stop the practice.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said scammers had wreaked significant emotional and financial hardship.

“For too long, scammers have been targeting Australians,” he said.

- With AAP

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