Top five scams costing you

If all you want for Christmas is a scam-free festive season, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has delivered the perfect present – exposing the top five most-reported phone scams for 2019.

NBN impersonations were by far the most reported scam for 2019, followed by scammers pretending to offer technical support for your computer, which they may claim has a virus, and callers claiming to be from the do-not-call register.

Number four was supposed insurers calling about accident claims, while number five was a fake-kidnapping or extortion scam targeting Chinese-Australians.

ACMA spokesperson Fiona Cameron also warned people to be vigilant about SMS phishing scams targeting Australia Post customers.

“We have seen a spike in this scam during the lead up to Christmas and we’re working with telcos to tackle the problem,” she said.

Explaining the scam, Ms Cameron said a text message, purportedly from Australia Post, would be sent claiming there was problem with a package delivery.

“The SMS includes a link to a fake Australia Post website that will ask for your personal and financial details,” she said.

“If you receive a suspicious SMS messages, delete the message and do not click the link.”

Ms Cameron said ACMA was ramping up its action to combat phone scams in 2020.

“The top three on the list [NBN, tech support and Australia Post] are all impersonation scams that many people will be familiar with,” she said.

“The ACMA’s new Combatting Scams Action Plan is designed to reduce the number of scam calls Australians receive.

“The project will put enforceable obligations on telco providers to share data and work together to identify and block scam calls like these ones.”

Ms Cameron flagged a trial to identify where high volumes of scam calls were coming from in order to have Australian carriers work with their international counterparts to block those calls.

“We are confident that we can significantly reduce these scams in a bid to protect Australia,” she said.

Ms Cameron said anyone receiving scam calls should followed a series of steps.

“If you think a call is suspect, don’t engage, instead hang up, block the number and report the call to Scamwatch.

“If you are unsure whether a call is a scam or not, hang up and contact the organisation the caller claims to be from to verify the details.”

The top 5 phone scams reported to the ACMA in 2019 were:

  • NBN impersonation scam 4419
  • Computer virus/tech support scam 1761
  • DNCR registration scam 1245
  • Accident claim scam 435
  • So-called Chinese scam 417

For more information about scams in Australia, or to report a scam, visit Scamwatch.

Have you been targeted by any of these scammers? Do you know of any other scams members should be aware of?

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Written by Janelle Ward

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