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20 million Aussie customers targeted by $1 iPhone scams

·3-min read
(Source: Getty/Yahoo Finance screenshot)
(Source: Getty/Yahoo Finance screenshot)

Australians should beware of a text scam that aims to trick people into giving out their credit card details in order to "claim" a "$1 iPhone 11 pro".

Yahoo Finance understands that users have received a text message informing them that their “parcel” has been “held at our shipping centre”, followed by a URL.

Following the link actually takes you to one of two versions of a scam survey: one that spoofs Vodafone and another that spoofs Telstra.

Both promise users a free iPhone.

“Dear Vodafone User: Congratulations!” one version of the notification reads. “You are selected by Vodafone Rewards Program. You have (1) iPhone 11 pro pending now.”

Vodafone text scam screenshots
The Vodafone version of the scam. (Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)

However, the content of the two scams appear to be extremely similar, despite usage of different brands and logos.

Hitting ‘continue’ then takes you to a page that invites unsuspecting users to do a “short online survey” of nine “simple questions” that would be completed in under 30 seconds.

Users are then told they have the chance to “get” a new iPhone 11 if they “pay only $1 after finishing the survey”.

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The fake survey is also made to appear more urgent with a timer that tells users they have less than three minutes to answer the questions.

The webpage is made to look even more convincingly authentic with falsified Facebook user comments that claim that the offer is genuine and “[is] not a scam”.

(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)

Completing the survey takes you to a page that claims the user has “qualified for an iPhone 11 pro”.

Hitting ‘claim’ will advise users to “pay $1 with credit card”, and are led to a fake site asking users to input their credit card details.

(Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)
Telstra version of the fake $1 iPhone 11 scam. (Source: Yahoo Finance screenshot)

Scammers often make use of well-known and trusted brands or service providers in order to convince victims to hand over their personal details.

Telstra has nearly 14 million mobile customers and 2.6 million broadband customers, while Vodafone has 5.8 million customers.

A Vodafone spokesperson told Yahoo Finance that it had message scanning technology in place that blocked high volumes of scam texts being issued to customers.

But this technology doesn’t block all of them, they indicated.

“As scammers are continually evolving their approach to try to make their messages appear legitimate, some do get through. As soon as we become aware of this, we manually block the activity," the spokesperson said.

“We are aware that scammers try to steal personal information by sending fake messages from Vodafone and we have information on our website warning customers about this type of scam and other similar scams.”

Vodafone customers who have received this text are encouraged to send a screenshot of the message to fraud@vodafone.com.au.

Telstra customers can report suspicious messages, texts, emails, or scams to their website here.

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