Consumer Watch: Texts aim to steal banking details

Candice EvansGeraldton Guardian
The FluBot scam is becoming more prevalent.
Camera IconThe FluBot scam is becoming more prevalent. Credit: 7NEWS

If you’ve been bombarded with suspicious, garbled text messages lately that mention a missed call or voicemail, you’re not alone.

There’s a good chance that the messages riddled with typos have been generated by malware called FluBot, which tries to steal Android device users’ banking details and other personal information.

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We understand the scammers behind the malware are deliberately using bad grammar and spelling errors in the text messages to circumvent strict filters put in place by telco companies that would ordinarily block this type of message from getting through.

The FluBot malware has already infected devices in Europe, after Android users clicked on the links in the messages and installed the FluBot app, which is only available outside of the official Google PlayStore.

Even though iPhones can still receive the messages, the FluBot malware doesn’t pose a threat to iOS users because they can only download and install files directly from the Apple store.

Once installed on an Android device, the FluBot can take over to spy and steal data. Of particular concern is its ability to overlay on top of a legitimate banking app, leading the victim to a scammer’s site instead of their own bank. FluBot can also access your contact list, meaning your friends and family may also start receiving the bogus messages.

If you have installed the FluBot app, it is recommended to do a factory reset on your device to remove the malware.

Our best advice is to never click on links in messages you are not expecting, don’t download apps outside of official app stores and consider anti-virus software for your Android phone.

If you have installed the FluBot app, it is recommended to do a factory reset on your device to remove the malware. Avoid doing a “restore” on your phone to retrieve lost apps and files, as this may reinstate the malware.

Should you fall victim to FluBot or another malware, contact WA ScamNet on 1300 30 40 54 or consumer@dmirs.wa.gov.au for further guidance.

Candice Evans is senior regional officer for Consumer Protection in the Mid West and Murchison.

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