A new scam targeting customers of loyalty points programs with large, well-known Australian companies has been detected by the National Anti-Scam Centre.
The National Anti-Scam Centre is warning consumers about a new text message scam currently targeting Qantas Frequent Flyer, Telstra and Coles loyalty programs’ customers, following 209 reports to Scamwatch in the past four months.
“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.
How the scam works
- Consumers receive a text message or email stating their loyalty points are expiring.
- The text or email includes a link to a fake website, which prompts customers to login. Customers may also be prompted to provide credit card details to use loyalty points.
- Scammers steal customers’ points. Scammers also steal customers’ login details and personal information to use on other platforms and commit identity fraud.
- Don’t ever click on a link included in a text message.
- Access the app or website independently to check on the status of your points.
“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,” Ms 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.”
Top tips for avoiding scams
- STOP – take your time before providing any personal information.
- THINK – ask yourself if the message could be fake?
- PROTECT – act quickly if something feels wrong. Contact the company referenced in the loyalty program message and report scams to Scamwatch.