Over 105,000 scam texts reported to toll road operator in five weeks

Australia’s national toll road operator has adopted an unusual approach in the fight against scammers, having received more than 105,000 reports of scams in just five weeks.

Research conducted by Transurban, the operator of Linkt, found more than 80 per cent of scam incidents were not being reported, usually coming in the form of text messages.

SMS phishing scams pose as reputable toll brands, such as Linkt, in a bid to steal personal data such as account numbers, passwords and credit card information.

To fight the rising problem, Transurban has begun incentivising road users to report incidents after research conducted by the company found only nine per cent of people report suspicious texts to Linkt.

The results of the initiative speak for themselves, with scam reports quadrupling.

Camera IconOnly nine per cent of people surveyed said they reported scam messages to Linkt. Supplied Credit: Supplied
More than 105,000 scams were reported in the first five weeks of the competition alone. Picture: Supplied
Camera IconMore than 105,000 scams were reported in the first five weeks of the initiative alone. Supplied Credit: Supplied

Australians can report toll road scams online or via the Linkt app and go into a draw to win an electric car or one of many gift cards.

In the first five weeks of the campaign alone, an average of 21,000 scams were reported per week – four times the number it typically receives.

Transurban’s group executive customer and technology Simon Moorfield said the sheer number of reports had “already exceeded (the company’s) expectations”.

“This really demonstrates the scale of the scam problem across Australia,” he said.

“We hope the opportunity to win a car will encourage more people to take a few minutes

out of their day to join the fight against SMS scams.”

Those who report the scams go into the draw to win a fully electric Hyundai IONIQ 5 Dynamiq. Picture: Supplied
Camera IconThose who report the scams go into the draw to win a fully electric Hyundai IONIQ 5 Dynamiq. Supplied Credit: Supplied

The competition, which ends on June 4, is open to everyone who receives a toll road scam message regardless of whether they are a Linkt customer or not and reports it.

Mr Moorfield has urged road toll users to remember that the company would never ask for payment details via text message. He said people are always redirected to log in to their account online or via the app.

He also reminded Australians that scams can “catch out the best of us”.

“If something about a text seems off to you, the best thing you can do is pause, take a

minute, and come back to it with fresh eyes,” he said.

Since the competition’s launch, Transurban has had 3500 unique phone numbers and 150 fraudulent URLs blocked.

In 2022 alone, Scamwatch received 14,585 toll road scam reports, with losses totalling $664,000.

Scams can be reported at any time via the Scamwatch website.

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