Another day, another scam — but given it’s tax time for many Australians, this one’s particularly nasty.
I woke up this morning to a text message on my phone. This text message, to be precise:
“Oh no!” I thought. “I must act immediately!”
So I did, reporting it as spam and deleting the message, because — just in case you didn’t read the headline properly — IT’S A SCAM.
But given that right now a lot of Australians will be waiting on tax returns — in some cases, money they’ll need to pay rent, bills or simply put food on the table — it’s a particularly nasty one.
Which is why I figured I’d write briefly about it, so I also took a screenshot of it, for educational purposes. I’m not going to fall for it, but then I’m not pretending that the scammers have targeted me specifically.
This will have gone out to hundreds of thousands of Australians, if not millions.
The scammers only need a frighteningly small hit rate to make serious money — and ruin lives and identities in the process — and that could be someone I know and love. Or indeed someone you know and love. Shining light on this kind of thing is rarely a bad idea.
Hang on… how do you know it’s a MyGov scam?
This one is quite blatant, actually. If you’ve had any dealings with MyGov, the Federal Government’s online arm, you’ll know that they never send out text messages with links in them, instead prompting you to go to the MyGov site to read inbox messages or deal with other governmental issues.
Moreover, not only does this contain a link, but it’s a link that doesn’t even try to pretend that it’s going to MyGov at all. I’ve very much deliberately blurred out part of the URL — it would be unwise to even try to go to the site mentioned in any way — but I’m going to figure that, no matter who’s in power in Canberra, they know that the word “Government” does contain the letter “n” before “m”… and not the letter “z” for that matter.
It’s also running one of the classic scammer plays, appealing to greed, because if I don’t act, my precious-and-entirely-fictional $1800.19 refund might be in peril!
I’d better update my details right away — but of course, no, because that’s how they’d get access to my actual MyGov account. I’m sure that the link would go to a site that looked like the MyGov site, because those kinds of mockups are trivial to manage.
So, yeah, this isn’t my usual beat for this site, but it’s important, because real people fall for these, lose money and online identities and often feel ashamed of being tricked.
Ideally we want nobody to fall victim to these kinds of scams — and thankfully there’s some very good resources out there to educate yourself if all of this has been a revelation. Head over to ScamWatch to learn how to protect yourself.