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Text message scams

Text message scams try to trick you into providing personal information to scammers.

What they are

Text message scams (sometimes called 'smishing scams' or scams) are messages sent out by scammers who are looking to get access to your:

  • personal information
  • financial details
  • phone, or
  • money.

Scammers are opportunistic and don’t necessarily target any particular person or group. Usually, they cast their net wide in the hopes of capturing as many people as possible in their scam.

How they work

The types of text message scams we see being circulated change all the time. However, there are some common themes you should be aware of.

Most scam messages will include:

  • a hook to try and convince you it's an authentic message. For example, this could be a message claiming to be from a courier who wants to deliver a parcel, or your bank asking you to authorise a payment
  • an urgent call to action. This includes saying your account details or other sensitive personal information has been exposed
  • a link for you to click. This will usually take you to a separate web page or portal where you'll be asked to provide personal or financial details, or download/update on your phone.

The wording in scam text messages changes all the time, so it's important to stay alert and watch out for the signs of a scam. You can check to see if a text message you've received is likely to be a scam using our scam check tool.

Scam check

You can also check the Department of Internal Affairs website – they provide a list of the current text scams being reported to them.

TXT scams list – Department of Internal Affairs