Man charged with sending millions of scam text messages

An accused scammer who allegedly sent more than 17 million fraudulent text messages has been charged as police issue a warning for the public to be vigilant in the lead up to Christmas.

A NSW Police cybercrime squad has been investigating the use of Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) boxes, an electronic device used to send bulk text messages across mobile networks.

The messages typically claim to be from a legitimate institution but contain links that direct people to an illegitimate website with the aim of ripping off the victims.

In an early morning raid on Tuesday, detectives arrested a 39-year-old man at a house at Moorebank, in Sydney’s south-west.

While searching the property, officers found two active SIM boxes, a number of SIM cards and electronics consistent with running a text message scam.

Police said the man was responsible for sending more than 17 million scam messages pertaining to be from companies including Australia Post and toll company Linkt.

The man was taken to Liverpool Police Station, where he was charged with using equipment connected to a network to commit a serious offence.

He was granted conditional bail and will appear before Liverpool Local Court on January 17.

Acting Detective Superintendent Jason Smith urged consumers to be weary of SMS phishing scams in the lead up to Christmas.

“As we enter the final lead up to Christmas, a lot of people will be expecting online deliveries; but under no circumstances should you ever click on a link you receive in an SMS message or email,” he said.

“Legitimate businesses will never call or SMS customers seeking confidential information so always be suspicious when you receive such requests.”

Det Supt Smith said scammers often pretended to be from a legitimate company or financial institution and wanted to access banking and other personal information.

“Even if it’s a company you regularly deal with, the safer option is to independently log into that company’s website to check your account,” he said.

“While the cybercrime squad remain committed to stamping out this type of crime, we need the community to be cyber smart by not clicking links you receive in texts or email, the scammers are powerless if you don’t play into their hands.”


Maeve Bannister
(Australian Associated Press)


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Categories: Legal