SCAMwatch has received reports of a new twist on the computer remote access scam with callers now claiming to be from (or affiliated with) Telstra or BigPond.
This is a variation on an existing scam in which scammers operating out of what reports suggest to be overseas call centres, falsely claim to be making tech support calls from Microsoft or Windows.
How the scam works
- You receive a scam call out of the blue and the caller claims to be from a large telecommunications or computer company/brand such as Telstra, BigPond, Microsoft or Windows.
- Alternatively they may claim to be from a technical support service provider.
- They tell you that your computer has been sending them error messages or that it has a virus.
- They may mention false problems with your internet connection or your phone line which they say may have affected your phone and computer’s recent performance. They may also claim that your broadband connection has been hacked.
- They will request remote access to your computer and if you say yes, will run a ‘scan’ that shows up a fake virus.
- They will try to trick you into buying unnecessary software or a service to ‘fix’ the computer. They may also ask you for your personal and bank/credit card details.
- The scammer may initially sound professional and knowledgeable however they will be very persistent and may become abusive if you don’t do what they ask.
- Note: you don’t have to be a Telstra or Microsoft customer to be called by these scammers. You don’t even have to own a computer!
- Telstra has advised that it does not request credit card details over the phone to fix computer or telephone technical problems, and that it is not affiliated with any companies that do. Telstra will also not call requesting personal details.
- If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your computer and requesting remote access - hang up – even if they mention a well-known company such as Telstra.
- Remember that you can still receive scam calls even if you have a private number or have listed your number on the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register. Scammers can obtain your number fraudulently or from anywhere it has been publicly listed such as in a phone book.
- NEVER give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
- If you have given remote access to your computer, or you fear that your computer has been hacked, seek out help or advice from a qualified and reputable computer technician.
- 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.
- Make sure your computer is protected with regularly updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall - research first and only purchase software from a source that you know and trust.
- If you have fallen victim to a scam or you receive a lot of unsolicited emails and phone calls consider changing your email address and phone numbers.
- If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch.
- Stay Smart Online alert 27 July 2011 - Scam phone calls informing you of a virus or wanting to install remote access software
- SCAMwatch radar March 2011: New twist on computer error message/virus scams: joint warning
- SCAMwatch radar July 2010: Telemarketing scam: your computer has a virus!
Stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @SCAMwatch_gov on Twitter or visit http://twitter.com/SCAMwatch_gov.