So far this year, 316 complaints have been made to the ACCC’s Scamwatch service about the NBN impersonation scam.
“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,” said ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard.
According to Ms Rickard, the scam has three different strains which attempt to lure victims into providing money and/or personal information.
The first involves phone calls which push victims to sign up to NBN accounts, which turn out to be fake. These can be identified as fake as payment is often demanded upfront, in the form of iTunes gift cards.
A second scam, also involving a phone call, sees victims being told the NBN has identified problems with their computer. The scammer uses this ruse to persuade victims to provide remote access to their computer, from where personal information is stolen, then malicious software is installed or payment is demanded to fix the supposedly identified problems.
In the third instance, victims have reported phone calls purporting to be from the NBN telling them they are entitled to a new router, and require confirmation of personal details, including Medicare and licence numbers, in order to proceed.
“Australians over 65 are particularly vulnerable to this scam with fraudsters using phone calls to target their victims,” Ms Rickard said.
“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 added that NBN is not involved with fixing computer problems, nor does it require personal details such as bank account numbers or Medicare numbers.
“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.”