Just hang up on scammers

SCAMwatch and Telstra are warning consumers to hang up the phone if they receive a call from someone claiming there is a problem with their internet connection or computer.

According to SCAMwatch, Telstra has become a popular target for scammers with callers often posing as representatives to convince you they're the real deal.

The latest advice follows a surge of reports to the watchdog of scammers who phone to inform people their computer has been hacked or infected with a virus.

The caller says the virus is threatening Telstra's internet infrastructure and offers to fix the problem on the spot for a small fee.

The victim may also be asked to download software which will allow the caller remote access to their computer.

"If the person resists or questions the scammer, they up the ante," a spokesman for SCAMwatch said.

"Scammers have reportedly threatened to sue people for putting Telstra's infrastructure at risk.

"When the person has requested proof that they are a Telstra rep, scammers have given out a fake number for Telstra which, when the consumer calls, puts them back on the line with the scammer. These scammers are also well versed at creating a sense of urgency to incite fear and anxiety that your device has been compromised and must be fixed immediately. If you provide your credit card details and give remote access to your computer, the scammer may not only take more than the stated 'fee', but also infect your computer to gain access to your personal information and commit other acts of fraud."

Scammers pretending to be from Telstra have been known to switch consumers to another service provider that the consumer did not knowingly agree to.

"If you have doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a business, organisation or government department, contact the body directly," the spokesman said.

TIPS TO AVOID COMPUTER SCAMS

  • Always keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall;
  • 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;
  • Report any suspect calls to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch website www.scamwatch.gov.au.


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