Impersonation scams are once again doing the rounds, with a text message purporting to come from high-profile retailers such as JB Hi-Fi sent to Australian mobiles.
A version of the message, seen by My Business, claims to be from the retailer, although the spelling is changed slightly to “JbHiFi”.
“Congratulations! On July 15th you participated in survey-lottery competition [sic]. You finished 2nd! See what you won” followed by a web link.
Figures from the ACCC show that the home electronics retailer is no stranger to the scam, with 2,291 reports logged with its Scamwatch centre between 1 January and 9 September 2019, with reported losses of $6,530.
For the whole of last year, just 346 reports of similar scam text messages involving JB Hi-Fi in particular were received, with losses of $1,361.
Indeed according to the ACCC data, the retailer’s name makes up almost half of such scam reports in the year-to-date, with 2,398 other reported impersonations via text message relating to prizes or competitions.
Yet impersonating other brands seems to pay better dividends, with $34,064 lost to similar scams involving any business other than JB Hi-Fi.
A spokesperson for the ACCC told My Business that other businesses being targeted in text message scams include Australia Post, Woolworths, Lotto and BET365.
Retailer’s offensive on scam alerts
Perhaps in acknowledgement of its brand being a common target for scammers, JB Hi-Fi has a dedicated section on its commercial website specifically about scam alerts.
“Please be aware that there are a growing number of fraudulent or misleading scams using the names of well-known retailers, including JB Hi-Fi,” it states.
“These can involve emails or SMS messages, phone calls, social media posts or other unsolicited promotions that use the JB Hi-Fi brand to request personal or financial information or direct you to ‘scam’ websites that appear to be linked to the retailer.”
It continues: “Please note that JB Hi-Fi will never ask for your personal or banking details in unsolicited communications. JB Hi-Fi’s official website can be found at jbhifi.com.au and any JB Hi-Fi special offers or competitions can be found on this website.”
The website then goes on to show screengrabs of eight “known scams” with details of how each one operates.
Scammers using increasingly diverse tools
The ACCC spokesperson noted that phishing scams — once deemed to be the domain of email — now cover virtually every method of communication, including phone calls, text messages and social media.
“A scammer contacts you pretending to be from a legitimate business such as a bank, telephone or internet service provider,” they said.
“The scammer asks you to provide or confirm your personal details. For example, the scammer may say that the bank or organisation is verifying customer records due to a technical error that wiped out customer data. Or, they may ask you to fill out a customer survey and offer a prize for participating.”
Other scams may involve an alert about “unauthorised or suspicious activity”, while Australia Post recently issued an alert about messages seeking payment in order for a package to be delivered.
In the event that you are caught out by a scam, the ACCC advises:
- Immediately call your bank to notify them that you have been the victim of a phishing scam.
- Avoid clicking on links or opening attachments from unknown sources, and delete them.
- Search online for the names and exact working of the message to check for any references to a scam.
- Online sources and links should be secure, with the website address starting with “https” and not “http”.
- Never provide personal or financial information up front. Take their name and details and independently check whether they are legitimate before calling them back.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.