Thursday, 24 March 2011 13:12

ACMA goes after phony malware telemarketers


Consumers are still being seen as a soft target for telemarketers peddling fake tech support for computer users they try to convince that their system has been infected with malware. According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, many of the unwanted telemarketing calls are being made to consumers on the Government's Do Not Call Register.

The ACMA has commenced a new campaign to root out the bad eggs from the computer antivirus industry and have threatened to impose harsh penalties on offenders, including some that are impersonating genuine antivirus companies.

"In the first three months of 2011, nearly half of all complaints about telemarketing calls made to numbers on the Do Not Call Register have been about these types of calls," said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

"The ACMA understands that while some businesses offer a legitimate virus prevention or removal service, many are falsely claiming to be related to reputable companies, such as Microsoft."

To stop consumers from receiving these calls, the ACMA has begun a targeted compliance campaign aimed at businesses that offer online virus removal and technical support.

The compliance initiative includes formal investigations into four separate computer virus companies. In addition, the ACMA is:

-working closely with Voice over Internet Protocol providers to identify rogue telemarketers

-cooperating with international regulators on developing strategies to tackle this global problem

-working closely with the ACCC as some of these businesses may be contravening consumer law.

'Australian consumers have had enough, so we're telling these telemarketers, 'Do Not Call,'' Mr Chapman said. 'Telemarketers that are investigated by the ACMA run the risk of incurring penalties of up to $110,000 per day.'

The Do Not Call Register is a free Federal Government service where Australians can register their numbers to opt out of telemarketing calls and marketing faxes. To register call 1300 792 958 or visit


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