A Gold Coast woman has issued a warning to drivers after $4,000 was charged to her credit card by text message scammers posing as toll road operator Linkt.
Poleta Lillico received a text message advising her of a failed toll payment and requesting she settle the outstanding amount.
She thought it was genuine, so paid $20 into her toll road account through the Linkt app.
Just days later a $4,000 charge appeared on her credit card.
“I was in, as you can imagine, massive shock,” Ms Lillico said.
“I wasn’t even thinking straight. I was in such shock.”
Hundreds of victims
Ms Lillico said she was unsure how the text message scammers got her details.
“I may have clicked on the link but I didn’t pay for anything through the link, I went to my Linkt app on my phone,” she said.
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC ) said it had received about 750 reports of this type of scam since January.
An ACCC spokesperson said recipients received a text message with a link that directed them to pay a bill or provide details, and victims had already lost about $29,000.
“For victims that have clicked on the link and provided all details they would then find fraudulent transactions on their credit card,” the spokesperson said.
Bank response ‘not acceptable’
Ms Lillico immediately contacted her bank but was frustrated with the response.
“They just try and get you off the phone as quickly as possible and say it’s not their problem,” she said.
“And I just went, ‘That’s not acceptable’.
“They tried to tell me there was nothing they could do about it.
“It [the transaction] showed up as overseas from America and my algorithms on my account clearly show that I’m in Australia for my daily spend.
“There’s really no excuse for how that slipped through the way it did.”
Transurban works to shut down scam
In a statement, a Transurban spokesperson said it appeared the scam was being coordinated overseas and was being sent to the general public, including people who did not have toll road accounts.
“We are aware of an SMS phishing scam that is using the Linkt and Transurban brands,” the spokesperson said
“Linkt will never SMS or email you to ask for your personal information or login details.
“Our security operations team is working with telecommunications providers, including Optus and Telstra, to identify and shut down malicious domains used for this scam.”
Australians lose a record $2 billion
Investment scams were the highest loss category ($701 million) followed by payment redirection scams ($227 million), and romance scams ($142 million).
Transurban said people who received a message from someone claiming to be Linkt that did not seem quite right should not click on the link.
“You can report a scam message to us via the Linkt website at linkt.com.au or via the federal government’s ScamWatch website at scamwatch.gov.au,” the spokesperson said.
“Make sure you’re logging into the Linkt website by navigating to linkt.com.au before you enter any personal details. You can also manage your account securely via the Linkt or LinktGO apps.”
The ACCC said people should pay attention to typos or grammatical mistakes in text messages and not respond.
After complaining to the banking ombudsman Ms Poletta finally got a refund.
She warned others to delete suspicious messages.
“On a good note, I’ve had it resolved now because I did escalate it,” she said.
“Just don’t click on anything.”