Remote access scammers pretending to be ACORN

1 December 2016

Scamwatch has received a report from the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN) that remote access scammers are calling pretending to be the ACORN.

These scammers claim that they have received a report that your computer has been infected by viruses and that they can assist in cleaning it. The caller will request remote access to your computer to do this.

The scammer may then try to talk you into buying unnecessary software or a service to ‘fix’ the computer, or they may ask you for your personal details and your bank or credit card details.

If you give access to your computer you may also be giving access to a large amount of personal information. You will also be giving control of your computer to a scammer who could then install viruses to steal this information later.

The ACORN will never contact you by phone.  If anyone calls you claiming to be from the ACORN, just hang up. It is rare that you will be contacted out of the blue by police and asked to do anything without meeting a police officer. If you receive a call from the police about your computer or anything else you are not sure about you should take their ID and advise that you will call them back. Do not use a number provided by the caller. You will never be asked for remote access to your computer by the ACORN or the police.

Protect yourself

  • Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
  • 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.
  • If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your computer and remote access is requested – hang up – even if they mention a well-known company such as Telstra. Telstra does not request credit card details over the phone to fix computer or telephone problems, and is not affiliated with any companies that do.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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.

For more information, visit the ACORN's website.

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