Published On: 28 March 2023By Categories: Tags: 2.8 min read

SMS “FREE Service Voucher” Scam?

Nowadays Scammers are getting more and more creative in adopting various ways so we can part with our money itself.  Today we would like to share with you an example of such a scam technique used involving SMS (Short Messaging Services).

Most of us are aware that if someone you don’t know/know sends you a link via SMS (Short Messaging Services), it would be wise NOT to click on it as we typically have no way of knowing where does that link goes to, and/or what are the consequences as well?  i.e., whether we give control over our phone to the scammer, or it downloads a virus or ransomware.

Let’s have a look at the screenshot below on a new technique adopted by Scammer.

As we can see the first SMS was sent on Tuesday, 21st February 2022 around 8:18 pm in the evening. SMS said that the appointment for the car inspection slot is now confirmed with Carsome (a local automotive firm) on 21st November 2023 at 10:30 am.

A few things to note on the first SMS received.

  1. The recipient of the said SMS above did NOT make the appointment with Carsome for a vehicle inspection. Alarm Bell #1.
  2. A quick search on Carsome’s website: seems legitimate that they do provide “free” 20 points car inspections. Therefore, this part is good.
  3. However, the appointment date seems off, as a quick check on the Carsome website only allows us to book in advance at the time of writing this article up till 7 months. Thus, the appointment time of 21st November 2023 is NO doable.  Alarm Bell #2.
  4. We are required to bring our spare key, car grant, and AP (recon car) for the car inspection appointment. All these are considered unnecessary for the car inspection.  Alarm Bell #3.

From what we can see on the first SMS received, there are half-truths and alarming parts if one is not reading it carefully.  Again, no harm done (yet) right?

Two days later, the scammer decided to send the second SMS on Thursday 23rd February 2023 at 3:46 pm.

Let’s dissect the Second SMS on what it means.

  1. SMS says they have incorrectly sent the first SMS and they apologise for doing so. This is to gain trust of the recipient that they acknowledge it.
  2. In the second part, they offer a “free” service package voucher with a URL link to it. This is the bait to get the recipient to click on it to start the actual scam itself.  Alarm Bell #4.

By dividing/splitting the scam into days, it will cause the recipient to lower their guard.  The bait of providing a “free” service voucher is to tempt the recipient to click on the link.

So, what can we do if we receive such an SMS scam?  Well, you can do the following.

  1. Forward and report them to the authorities.
  2. Forward and report them to your telecommunication provider.
  3. Report and block the said number that sent the SMS Scam itself.

In summary, if things are too good to be true; then it is so.  Do slow down and think twice before clicking on anything that is “free”.  Stay safe and stay vigilant out there!

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