20 August 2014

Telstra has published a notice to customers about phone based scams, adding that over the past year it has observed a four-fold increase in the volume of scams reported by its customers.

It says that, “In most cases, customers made the comments after they were called at home by a scammer and told they need to pay for technical support to fix a problem that doesn’t exist on their home computer. The caller falsely claims they are from Telstra and asks for remote access to the computer.”

Telstra outlines the following tips to avoid phone scams:

  • If you’re not sure that the person on the other end of the phone is legitimate, hang up and call the organisation by using their official contact details
  • Be wary of sharing personal, credit card or banking details over the phone, unless you’ve made the call or the phone number came from a trusted source
  • Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer
  • Make sure your computer is protected with regularly updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software
  • If your alarm bells are ringing or you think something’s not quite right, just hang up

Telstra says that because the calls often originate from overseas, they can be difficult to prevent.

Earlier this year, Stay Smart Online and SCAMwatch warned about an increase in cold calling scams, targeting Telstra. This Alert also includes further advice about how these scams can work.

Stay Smart Online has previously discussed how scammers often change their tactics. Scammers may attempt to sell you fake software updates or provide remote access to your computer, or they may seek your or financial information. Stay Smart Online has also previously warned of this type of scam targeting mobile devices.

More information

You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.

Telstra customers can also report scams to Telstra online, or by calling 13 22 00, or its Facebook page.

The information provided here is of a general nature. Everyone's circumstances are different. If you require specific advice you should contact your local technical support provider.

Feedback

Thank you to those subscribers who have provided feedback to our Alerts and Newsletters. We are very interested in your feedback and where possible take on board your suggestions or requests.

Disclaimer

This information has been prepared by Enex TestLab for the Department of Communications ('the Department'). It was accurate and up to date at the time of publishing.

This information is general information only and is intended for use by private individuals and small to medium sized businesses. If you are concerned about a specific cyber security issue you should seek professional advice.

The Commonwealth, Enex TestLab, and all other persons associated with this advisory accept no liability for any damage, loss or expense incurred as a result of the provision of this information, whether by way of negligence or otherwise.

Nothing in this information (including the listing of a person or organisation or links to other web sites) should be taken as an endorsement of a particular product or service.

Please note that third party views or recommendations included in this information do not reflect the views of the Commonwealth, or indicate its commitment to a particular course of action. The Commonwealth also cannot verify the accuracy of any third party material included in this information.

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