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These Spam Messages Are Everywhere - Here's Why You Shouldn’t Open Them

The ‘Flubot’ scam first arrived in Australia in August 2021. They are characterised by texts received from an Australian phone number that entice users to click on a link that would then ‘infect’ their device with malware.

In the first 8 weeks of Flubot scams being in Australia, 13,000 Australians made a formal complaint to the Scamwatch division of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The ACCC warns that the applications behind the links are able to “read your text messages, send text messages from your phone, make phone calls from your number access your contacts - Installing the software is likely to give scammers access to your passwords and accounts”.

“They may be able to use this information to steal your money or personal information. It will also ask other infected Australian phones to send Flubot messages to the numbers it steals from your phone, continuing and expanding the scam,” a statement read.

“So, if you called the person that sent you the message, it would be another victim of the scam whose device was infected.”

A thread on Reddit garnered thousands of reactions from Aussies all experiencing the same frustration at the sheer amount of messages they are being inundated with.

One user added: “I have an iPhone for work and the inbox is full of this crap. I have Android for personal use, and I don’t see these messages at all. The Google messages app auto filters them out into a separate folder so it doesn’t clutter your inbox.”

According to the ACCC, the most recent statistics say that as of early October last year, there have been 15,563 complaints about Flubot alone to date.

Fortunately, most Australians have been aware they are scams, with just 13 people reported losing money, to a collective sum of $10,542, after the malware compromised their bank accounts.

Many Reddit users speculate that responding to the texts or calling them allows the scammers to confirm that your number is active. As such, it’s best to block and or delete the numbers.

You can report the messages and any other scams to the ACCC.