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Thursday, 28 July 2022 11:18

Impersonation scams still plague consumers Featured

By Staff Writer

Consumers have been warned about ongoing scams where scammers are impersonating well-known telecommunications or tech companies like Telstra, NBN Co and Microsoft.

The alert has come from Australia’s telecommunications industry regulator the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) which says it is aware of ongoing reports of the scams and poses the question - “Have you received unsolicited calls from people saying there is a problem with your computer and offering to fix it?” - and warning that “it’s likely to be a scam”.

“They make claims to alarm you, such as your broadband has been hacked or your computer has a virus or there are issues with your internet or phone connection,” the ACMA says.

“These scammers will often pretend to be ‘support desk’ or ‘technical support’ staff and ask to remotely access your computer to identify and fix the problem. They may also ask for your personal and/or financial details to pay a service fee or ask you to buy unnecessary software as part of a fix.”

ACMA warns that these scams are designed to “trick you into handing over money or personal information - and scammers may also install malware onto your computer and request a ransom to remove it”.

ACMA says that Telstra, NBN Co, Microsoft and other legitimate telecommunications and tech companies will “never cold-call you to tell you there’s a problem with your device or ask to access your computer”.

If you receive one of these calls ACMA advises:

  • hang up even if they mention a well-known company
  • never give remote access to your computer
  • never give your personal information, credit card or bank account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.

“If you're unsure if a call is legitimate, contact the business using contact details you’ve identified yourself, such as through an official website or app,” ACMA says, while noting that more information about these scams is available on the Scamwatch and Cyber.gov.au websites.

ACMA concludes: “Scammers target everyone. Learn more about how to protect yourself from phone scams on the ACMA website and make a report to Scamwatch.”

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