Telstra issues warning as phone scams rise

TELSTRA has reminded customers to be wary of scammers who attempt to obtain their personal information by phone, after the number of customers reporting scams increases.

In the past 12 months, the number of comments from customers to Telstra about telephone scams has increased four-fold.

Telstra reports that in most cases, customers are called at home 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.

The people running the phone scam appear to want  customers' identity and in particular their personal banking details, Telstra said.

Telstra executive director customer advocacy Peter Jamieson said the significant increase in attempts to deceive customers with false information over the phone during the past 12 months was a concern.

"The criminals operating these scams are trying to sell customers fake software updates, or trick them into disclosing their personal details over the telephone so those details can then be used illegally," Mr Jamieson said.

"The increasing number of these telephone scams is concerning and customers should be alert to any attempts to trick them into disclosing their credit card or banking details over the telephone."

Reports of phone scams can be made via the SCAMwatch website, or customers can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Customers can also report a telephone scam to Telstra.

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.

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