Beware of NBN scams

13 March 2015

SCAMwatch is warning consumers and businesses to be aware of NBN-related scams seeking to get your personal details or asking you to buy equipment you don’t need.

As the rollout of the National Broadband Network (NBN) progresses, you may receive legitimate materials from NBN Co and telecommunications service providers aboutwhat you need to do when the NBN comes to your area. Unfortunately, scammers may take advantage of the NBN rollout, using it as an excuse to contact consumers and small businesses. Scammers may call or email with false claims that they need personal details, such as credit card details, to allow access to the NBN. Some scammers may also tell consumers that they need to buy new equipment to use services over the NBN.

Scammers often use major government programs or announcements like the NBN to trick people into handing over their money or personal details. Scammers may pretend to be from NBN Co, a government agency, or a telecommunications provider to sound legitimate. They may spin a range of stories to make their story sound real, such as claiming that personal information such as credit card details is necessary to get access to services over the NBN.

Scammers typically ask for people’s financial and other personal details to access their money and commit identity theft.

NBN Co is the company responsible for the NBN rollout. It is a wholesale network provider and does not provide retail services to consumers. It is unlikely that NBN Co will ask consumers for personal bank or credit card details. You should only give your personal bank or credit card details if you know who you are talking to and understand the reason you are providing these details.

If you are unsure about what you need to do to switch to services over the NBN, you should contact your preferred telecommunications service provider using the number in the telephone directory or on their official website.

There are a limited number of circumstances where you may need new equipment when you switch to services over the NBN – for example if you have a household or medical alarm or if you need a new modem or router. Do not purchase any new equipment before speaking with your preferred telecommunications service provider and/or your equipment provider.

Be on guard, you may receive a phone call or email from someone asking for your personal or banking details in order get services over the NBN at your home or business. If you are approached by someone purporting to offer the NBN in this way, hang up and stop contact– the person on the other end may be a scammer. The best approach is to call your preferred telecommunications service provider using the number they list in the telephone directory or on their official website.

 

How these scams work

  •  You receive a call, email or knock at the door out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the NBN, a government department or business such as a telecommunications service provider.
  • The caller or sender will claim that, because of the NBN, you must provide personal information.  You may be asked to provide your bank account details or other personal information.
  • If you provide your bank account details or other personal information, the scammer may use it to commit identity theft or to steal your money.

Alternatively, the caller may tell you that you need to buy new equipment because your existing equipment is incompatible with the NBN and ask you to purchase equipment.

Protect yourself

  • Know who you are talking to: If you have any doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a business, organisation or government department, contact the body directly. Don’t rely on numbers, email addresses or websites provided by the caller – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.   
  • Protect your personal information: 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.
  • Think twice before buying: Before purchasing any new equipment for the NBN, make sure you do your own research. Contact your service provider directly and shop around to make sure new equipment is actually required.
  • If you think you’ve been scammed, report it: If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your ban k or financial institution immediately.

Report

You can report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page.

More information

Stay one step ahead of scammers, follow @SCAMwatch_gov on Twitter.

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