Rise of the anti-scammers as Telstra reveals active fraud times

'Scam-baiting' as Alexa

Source: YouTube/IRLRosie

Scams have become such a constant 24/7 feature of modern life that an entire online movement of anti-scammers has popped up to combat them.

Scam reports surged 18.5 per cent in the past year alone, according to ScamWatch, with texts remaining the main medium, with over 109,000 reported SMS scams in 2023 (up 37 per cent).

The size of the global scamming industry has grown so large that an entire counter-movement of anti-scammers has gained traction on social media.

Content creators specialising in beating the scammers at their own game have garnered huge followings online, with commenters praising them for taking the fight back to financial fraudsters.

In one video posted to social media, anti-scammers on TikTok managed to find where a scam call centre was operating from, and confront workers live on the phone.

Other anti-scammers have helped victims get their money back, with one YouTuber detailing the process in a video last year.

“YOU ARE AMAZING. Thanks for all you do for victims and mankind in general,” one commentator on the video said.

Tracing a scammer call centre

Source: Tiktok/Scammerpayback

Scammer times

Australians don’t need to be experts to spot the warning signs of a scam.

Telstra says fraudsters are most active in the middle of the night between 1am and 4am, and that’s no accident.

“Scammers try to take advantage of lapsed judgement – whether that’s before your first cup of coffee, while you’re busy running weekend errands, or simply in relaxation mode,” Pauli said.

“They pose as real and recognisable companies and/or agencies, and threaten everything from cancelled car registrations through to damage to your credit report, or even legal action.”

AI used in scams

Knowing when scammers are likely to make contact is becoming more important because it’s becoming harder to clearly distinguish a scam based purely on the language being used.

That’s because fraudsters have started using Gen AI to tailor their messages to the Australian lexicon, even adopting slang, Pauli said.

“Lately, we’ve seen scammers use AI to sound more Australian to try and trick locals into thinking they’re ‘true blue’,”

But as the below example shows, it’s still possible to spot them out because their use of language isn’t exactly perfect.

“It’s clear they aren’t quite there yet!” Pauli said.

An example of a scam text adopting slang published by Telstra.

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