How this scam works
- You receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be a representative of Telstra or Telstra BigPond®. They may sound like the real deal, claiming to be from ‘Telstra Technical Support’ and using technical jargon.
- The caller claims that you need to take immediate action to avoid your internet connection being terminated or disconnected, as your computer has been hacked or infected with malware and is threatening Telstra’s internet infrastructure.
- In order to fix the problem, the caller will claim that you will need to pay them a service fee (typically around $10) to have a specialist look at your computer. They will also ask you to download a software program so that they can gain remote access to your computer and run a scan.
- The scammer may initially sound professional and knowledgeable, however they will be very persistent and may become abusive if you don’t do what they ask. They may even threaten to sue you for putting Telstra’s internet infrastructure at risk.
- If you provide your financial details or give remote access, you might find a lot more money taken out of your bank account than you agreed to, with some victims reporting losing over $5,000 from multiple withdrawals. Your computer may also be infected with malicious software, giving scammers access to your personal details stored on the device (including bank account information).
- Note: you don’t have to be a Telstra customer to be called by these scammers. You don’t even have to own a computer!
- If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be a representative of Telstra and their call relates to a problem with your internet connection, just hang up.
- If you have doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a business, organisation or government department, contact the body directly. Don’t rely on contact details provided by the person – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
- Remember that you can still receive scam calls even if you have a private number or have listed your number on the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register. Scammers can obtain your number fraudulently or from anywhere it has been publicly listed such as in a phone book.
- Don’t let scammers press your buttons – scammers use detailed scripts to convince you that they’re the real deal and create a high pressure situation to make a decision on the spot.
- Always keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall. Only buy computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source.
- Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
- Never give a stranger remote access to your computer, even if they claim to be from a reputable business.
- If you think your computer’s security has been compromised, use your security software to run a virus check. If you still have doubts, contact your anti-virus software provider or a computer specialist.
- If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.
You can also find out more about current and past scams from http://www.scamwatch.gov.au/