Phone scams cost Australians dearly and account for the biggest chunk of scams by type costing Australians millions each year according to Scamwatch ($25 million so far this year, on track to surpass last year’s $48 million lost to scam calls).
ACCC Scamwatch numbers
Telstra's Cleaner Pipes initiatives has seem a doubling of the average number of scam calls blocked per month from 6.5 million to 13 million in the last four months.
This has been accomplished by Telstra implementing some improvements to the way they block Wangiri scam calls. Wangiri scam calls are those calls that ring once from a random international number, if you call them back that's when the scam begins.
Telstra have also worked on blocking spoofing calls, this is when the scammers change the call ID to look like a local number rather than the international number they are really calling from.
While our telco's, like Telstra, are doing their best to block these scam callers from reaching us, Australians need to be vigilant and exercise a healthy amount of scepticism with incoming calls. The blocking technology won't stop all scam calls reaching their target and the scammers will also continue to improve their techniques and technology.
"1. Don’t be convinced if it looks like an incoming call is from a legitimate business or government organisation.
"2. Is the caller pressuring you and making it seem like the matter is urgent? Be very suspicious of calls of this nature. Hang up and search online for the official number of the organisation they are calling from and use that number to call back.
"3. Take note of the time of day – is it a reasonable time for a trusted organisation to be calling you? Be suspicious of calls late at night or on weekends.
"4. Is an unknown number or trusted brand trying to call you repeatedly? This is a hallmark of a scam call.
"5. The golden rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If someone is calling you about an opportunity or about winning a prize (especially one you don’t remember entering!), it’s probably a scam."
Scam call blocking is part of Telstra’s Cleaner Pipes initiative, which includes a range of existing work designed to help keep their customers safe from malicious activity online.