With Qantas advertising a lot to remind people to reclaim their credits and a points bonus associated with this, scammers have obviously observed this and are trying to cash in!
Investigating 209 Scamwatch reports received in the past four months, the National Anti-Scam Centre says the scam involves text messages targeting Qantas Frequent Flyer, Telstra and Coles loyalty programs’ customers.
“While the vast majority of reports to Scamwatch received so far are in relation to Qantas Frequent Flyer, Telstra and Coles loyalty programs, it is important for Australians to be aware that any loyalty program could be referred to in this type of scam,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.
According to the ACCC, consumers receive a text message or email telling them their loyalty points are expiring. A link to a fake website is provided.
The message then prompts customers to log in. From here, they may ask customers to provide credit card details to use loyalty points.
If successful, scammers steal customers’ points, login details and personal information to use on other platforms for identity theft.
The ACCC urges customers of these programs to ignore any clicks in the text messages. They also suggest people independently check the status of their points on the appropriate app or website.
“The National Anti-Scam Centre has contacted the companies that have been impersonated by scammers and is working with web host providers to have the fake websites taken down, to minimise harm to the community,” Lowe said.
“We are very concerned that Australians experiencing cost-of-living pressures may be more susceptible to these scams.
“Scammers are deliberately panicking consumers by claiming their points are expiring soon.
“We urge people to immediately delete or ignore any message regarding a loyalty program that contains a link.”
The following advice to; STOP: THINK: PROTECT: is sound advice! Too many people react to a message too quickly!
To avoid scams generally, the ACCC recommends consumers (STOP) take their time before providing any personal information. They should (THINK) ask themselves if the messages could be fake, and (PROTECT) act quickly if something feels wrong. Customers should also consider contacting the company named in the message and report scams to Scamwatch.
According to The Guardian, Choice CEO Alan Kirkland said consumers “shouldn’t have to bear the entire cost of scam losses”.
“Banks should be required to compensate customers when they fail to take reasonable steps to stop money being stolen through a scam,” he said.
“A mandatory code that requires banks to reimburse their customers for scam losses would significantly reduce distress for customers affected by scams, and create the right incentives for banks to invest in scam prevention.”
ACCC figures show Aussies lost a record $3.1 billion to scams in 2022, which is more than 50 per cent higher than the $2 billion lost in 2021.
EDITOR Notes: The UK has recently introduced laws whereby the customers bank and the receiving bank are 50/50 liable for the loss to the customer. That should provoke some actions being taken by the banks! This is also an oportune time to remind people to ensure they have a quality VPN App on their device when travelling, not a free one a paid for version!!