A new scam has been targeting customers of loyalty points programs those with Qantas Frequent Flyer, Coles, and Telstra points being the most affected. The National Anti-Scam Centre (under the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch) has seen a drastic increase in scams targeting customers of loyalty programs. Over the last four months, the centre has received over 200 reports of these loyalty point scams.
Customers of loyalty programs targeted in new scam
What does the scam look like?
Targeted customers will receive an SMS letting them know that their loyalty points are expiring, and prompt them to visit the link. Victims will log in, and input their information to check the status of their points. The scammer then steals the points, as well as the customer’s login and personal information. They might use this information to then commit fraudulent activity on other platforms.
“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.
She also expressed concerns that the rising cost of living has left customers more susceptible to the scam.
“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,” Ms Lowe said in the ACCC’s press release on the matter yesterday.
To check the status of your loyalty points, don’t click on a link in a text message, especially if the number seems sketchy. Go to the website or the app independently where you can guarantee all links are legit, and you won’t be taken to a malicious website.
Scamwatch recommends implementing a simple three-step process to ensure you think twice about engaging with dodgy SMS messages or emails.
- Stop – take the time to assess if you should be providing this information, especially if the information is highly personal.
- Think – are there any signs that make you think this could be a scam?
- Protect – protect your information and report the scam to Scamwatch and the company the scammer is trying to impersonate.