Australians have been warned of a “distressing” new text message scam that is doing the rounds across the country.
On Monday ScamWatch issued an urgent warning to the public after receiving a number of concerning reports of emergency assistance messages.
According the ACCC run website, there has been a spate of the text messages over recent days that have caused quite a bit concern throughout the community.
Aussies have been left a little shaken after receiving the text messages from an unknown number claiming they need help.
“For example, the text message might read. ‘please call me back right away. It is an emergency I need your help’,” ScamWatch explained in a statement.
The obviously distressing message has led to many people being verbally abused by a recording when they have rung back to see what the problem is. Although there have been no reports of money being lost, ScamWatch said it is still a cause for concern.
“While people have not yet reported losing money as a result of these calls, you may find the content of the recording distressing,” the company warned.
“ScamWatch therefore advises that you exercise caution or do not respond to these text messages.”
Unfortunately a number of scams have been doing the rounds of late with the Australian Taxation Office warning earlier this month of the new and creative ways scammers are working to get their hands on taxpayers’ hand-earned money.
According to the government agency numerous reports have been made of scammers using what appeared to be an ATO number to send fraudulent SMS messages through a technique known as “spoofing”.
The cruel masterminds attempt to trick Aussies by asking them to click on a link and hand over their personal details in order to obtain a refund.
“This scam is not just targeting your money, but is after your personal information in an attempt to steal your identity,” Assistant Commissioner Karen Foat warned.
“Taxpayers should be wary of any phone call, text message, email or letter about a tax refund or debt, especially if you weren’t expecting it.”
While the ATO regularly contacts taxpayers by phone, email and SMS, Foat said there are some tell-tale signs that it isn’t the ATO.
For one the ATO will not send an email or SMS asking you to click on a link to provide login, personal or financial information, or to download a file or open an attachment.
They would never use rude behaviour, or threaten you with arrest, jail or deportation and do not request a fee in order to release a refund owed to you.
On top of this, the ATO never requests payment of a debt via iTunes or Google Play cards, pre-paid Visa cards, cryptocurrency or direct credit to a personal bank account.