While some might argue the NBN is a scam itself, there's a genuine threat from scammers pretending to be from the NBN calling business and home owners looking for payments and personal information.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) issued a warning today saying it had received some 316 complaints from victims who have reportedly lost nearly $28,000 to the scammers.
Most common of the NBN impersonator scams involve:
Signing victims up to fake accounts – scammers will ring victims to ‘connect’ them to the NBN network for a low price. They will often demand payment be made through iTunes gift cards
Gaining remote access to computers – scammers call a victim and claim there are problems with their computer. The scammer uses this ruse to gain remote access to the victim’s computer to steal valuable personal information, install malicious software or demand payment to fix ‘problems’ they have discovered
Phishing – the scammers will call victims to steal valuable personal information like their name, address, Medicare number, licence number. The scammer may tell the victim they’re entitled to a new router, for example, and say they need these personal details to confirm the victim’s identity.
“Scammers are increasingly using trusted government brands like NBN to trick people into falling for scams. Their goal is always to either get hold of your money or personal information,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
“Australians over 65 are particularly vulnerable to this scam with fraudsters using phone calls to target their victims.
“NBN will never phone you out of the blue to try to sign you up to a service over its network.
NBN is a wholesaler meaning they don’t sell direct to the public. If you get an unsolicited call like this, it’s a big red flag that you’re dealing with a scammer."
Ms Rickard said the NBN will never call you to remotely ‘fix’ a problem with your computer, or to request personal information like your Medicare number or your bank account numbers.
"Don’t listen to the reasons they give you for needing this information," she said.
“Finally, if someone ever asks you to pay for a service using iTunes gift cards, it is 100 per cent a scam. Legitimate businesses, especially those like NBN, will never ask you to pay for anything in this way."
People can protect themselves by following these tips:
If you’re ever in doubt about contact you’ve had from someone saying they’re from the NBN trying to sell you an internet or phone service, hang up the phone and call your retail service provider to check if the person calling is a fraud.
You can only connect to the NBN network by purchasing a plan through a phone and internet service provider. Go to NBN’s website to check if your home or business address is able to connect to the NBN network and see which phone and internet providers are available in your area.
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.
Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
If you think you have provided bank account or credit card details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
Further information is available at www.scamwatch.gov.au.