Australians are being warned by Scamwatch about a new text message scam being referred to as the ‘Flubot message’. The scam sends a text message to unsuspecting consumers that misleads them into clicking a link to ‘opt out’ of the scam. When a consumer clicks the link it downloads malicious software that can steal personal information.
Scamwatch alerted Australians on Friday 15th October with a clear warning to avoid clicking on the opt-out message.
The malicious text message reads, “If you want to stop receiving messages, opt-out here,”. The message is followed by a link that if clicked will download Flubot software on the recipient’s device.
Sick of receiving #scam texts? #Flubot scammers know their constant stream of messages is frustrating & so they’ve come up with this new #scam trick to make you want to click the link. Clicking this link will download Flubot, not stop messages. Delete these texts! pic.twitter.com/M6D4UCS74x
— Scamwatch_gov_au (@Scamwatch_gov) October 14, 2021
Scamwatch warned users not to click the link in a Twitter message, instructing people to “delete the text”.
“Scammers know their constant stream of messages is frustrating & so they’ve come up with this new scam trick to make you want to click the link,” the Tweet said.
“Clicking this link will download Flubot, not stop messages.”
The Flubot scams which arose in August this year typically ask the recipient to download or click a malicious link and are constantly updating the format of the messages in an attempt to catch recipients off guard.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has received over 16,000 reports of these scams since August of this year with Australians losing over $211 million to scams this year alone.
Scamwatch issued a second warning of another Flubot message which alerted recipients that private photos had been uploaded online and provided a link to where the photos had been uploaded. Another recent scam impersonated PayPal and asked recipients to click a link concerning a disputed payment.
Beware of texts impersonating @PayPal saying you’ve sent a payment & need to call to dispute it. These are a #scam! Delete the texts – do not call. People that have called reported that scammers used remote access software to access their device & tried to steal their info/money! pic.twitter.com/sbuMiJGGub
— Scamwatch_gov_au (@Scamwatch_gov) October 11, 2021
ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard warned Australians, “whatever you do, don’t click on the link”.
“It’s a very sophisticated scam and potentially very dangerous. It can compromise people’s bank accounts,” deputy chair of the ACCC Delia Rickard told news.com.au.
The ACCC offers some useful advice on how to protect yourself from falling victim to the latest Flubot scams via their website.
Consumers are encouraged to report possible scams to the ACCC and alert their financial institution immediately if they suspect they have fell victim to a Flubot scam.