Criminals who contact you unexpectedly offering to help 'fix problems' with your account, phone or computer are causing increasing financial loss through remote access scams.

Professional-sounding scammers ask you to download well-known screen-sharing (or remote desktop application) software. They then use this software to steal from you.

Australians reported losing $15.5 million to these scams in 2023, with criminals stealing averages in the tens of thousands of dollars.

This increased by 52% in the first 3 months of 2024, compared to the previous quarter.

Australians over 65 years old are losing the most money in these scams.

How to spot the scam

  • You get an unexpected phone call from someone telling you there's a problem with your account, phone, or computer.
  • They may pretend they're calling from a well-known bank, internet, phone, software or web security business and they can help you 'fix the problem'.
  • They tell you to download screen sharing software like Zoho, AnyDesk or TeamViewer or an app which will let them remotely control your computer or mobile phone.

How the scam works

  • When you download the software or app they say they need to 'fix the problem', the scammer can now fully control your device.
  • They don't fix any problem, because there's no problem to fix.
  • They ask you to tell them your banking passwords or one-time security codes.
  • Sharing these lets the scammer access your bank accounts, personal information and steal your money.
  • You might not realise they have stolen your money and emptied your bank accounts until the next time you log in.

Find out more

Remote access scams are a type of impersonation scam.

Scammers pretend they are from a well-known phone, software or web security businesses.

They may use technology (or 'spoofing'), so it looks like they're calling from an official phone number.

Always ask 'who's really there?'. Find out more about impersonation scams, what to look for and how to protect yourself.

Protect yourself

STOP – Don’t rush to act. Hang up on anyone asking you to download software or an app over the phone. Never provide banking information, passwords, or 2-factor identification codes over the phone.

THINK – Ask yourself if you really know who you are communicating with? Take the time to call the business you're dealing with using independently sourced contact details, or check you're talking to a real employee using their secure app.

PROTECT – Act quickly if something feels wrong. If you've shared financial information or transferred money, contact your bank immediately. Help others by reporting to Scamwatch.

If you've been affected

  • If you have lost money, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
  • If you've had personal information stolen or need support to recover from a scam, contact IDCARE on 1800 595 160.
  • Help others by reporting scams to Scamwatch.
  • Tell your friends and family: you can share your experience, get support and help to protect others from scams.