You would think that consumers these days would be well aware of the many well-publicised email scams going around. There is greater awareness of them but plenty of unsuspecting consumers are still being caught out.
As it turns out – text messages are not immune from these fake offers either and they are certainly on the rise.
Many of these scams target retail shoppers and claim to offer free gift cards, free vouchers and the like. Major retailers such as Aldi, Coles and Woolworths have been wrapped up in the scams with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) responding to concerned shoppers on social media.
Smartcompany reported in August of this year that in July 2017, Australians lost $127,000 in scams with 47.2% of these coming from text message offers. A year ago, consumers lost $133,000 from similar schemes however only 13% of the schemes came from text messages. So scammers are definitely targeting consumers by text message in increasing numbers.
I have seen fake text offers myself from Coles and Aldi in recent months.
The full Smartcompany article can be found here;
The fake SMS messages tend to be all of a similar format with some form of congratulatory message and a URL to click through to – like the image below (courtesy Smartcompany);
Image: Courtesy Smartcompany
Another piece of advice – never click on links in text messages unless you are absolutely certain of their origin.
The article rightly mentions that such scams should be reported to the ACCC or ACMA wherever possible and absolutely we would definitely encourage the same.
So, how can retailers avoid being embroiled in such scams? Well in three words – “ditch the link”! Use MMS messaging rather than SMS. How is this any different? Hear us out…..
Many of the gift cards, coupons, vouchers etc. sent by retailers are meant to be redeemed in-store at point of sale.
By using MMS, the image of the voucher or coupon is self-contained within the message itself, appearing in the consumers Smart phone Inbox. There is no need to “click through” to access the voucher – it is therefore SCAM free! Not only is the voucher self-contained in the message stream, it is more visually appealing and likely to provide the retailer with greater brand awareness as covered in our earlier articles.
So there you have it – we would encourage retailers to use MMS over SMS for the advantages outlined. Not only is MMS a more professional method of communication, your consumers will welcome the fact that they are not being redirected to a scammers site trying to steal their information or infiltrate their smart phone. If more retailers used MMS over “SMS with a link” marketing messages and with greater education around the dangers of links in SMS messages, text message scams could be greatly reduced.
If you are an agency or reseller wanting to send MMS campaigns then please contact us for more information and rates. We offer the best MMS rates in Australia.
If you are an existing SMS provider looking for wholesale MMS A2P capability via our MMS gateway – to offer your own customers then please get in touch via our contact form.
To request a copy of our MMS API documentation, use our request page here.
If you have any other comments or questions around text scams, or if you would like to share your own successes with MMS, then free to leave a reply in the comment box below.