Scammers posing as several well-known companies, including Telstra, have cost Aussies more than $4 million in 2018 so far, the consumer watchdog has warned.
Telstra, the NBN, Microsoft and even the police have been used as fronts by scammers looking to steal banking details, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has warned.
The ACCC said it has seen a “significant spike” in these scams in 2018, with $4.4 million in losses already.
“The spike in remote access scams is very concerning; losses so far in 2018 have already surpassed those for the whole of 2017, and sadly it is older Australians that are losing the most money,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.
“The scammers are becoming more sophisticated. The old trick scammers used to use was to call people and say there was a virus on their computer that needed fixing but, in a new twist, scammers are now telling people they need their help to catch hackers.”
She explained that scammers will tell their target that their computer has been compromised by hackers, and that they need to use the target’s computer to catch the fake scammer.
They will then pretend to deposit money into the target’s account by swapping money between the target’s accounts to give the appearance of a deposit. However, money is then sent out of the target’s account and into the scammer’s pocket.
“Unfortunately there are many stories from people who give a scammer access to their computer and are then conned into giving access to online banking,” Ms Rickard said.
“It’s vital that people remember they should never, ever, give an unsolicited caller access to your computer, and under no circumstances offer your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone.
“If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your computer and remote access is requested, it’s a scam 100 per cent of the time. Just hang up.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.