Monthly average losses to NBN scams almost triple in 2019

Australians, and particularly older Australians, are losing more money to NBN scams.

The scam catching older Aussies

Australians, and particularly older Australians, are losing more money to NBN scams, with reported losses in 2019 already higher than the total of last year’s losses, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Consumers lost an average of more than $110,000 each month between January and May, compared with around $38,500 in monthly average losses throughout 2018. This represents an increase of nearly 300 per cent.  

“People aged over 65 are particularly vulnerable, making the most reports and losing more than $330,000 this year. That’s more than 60 per cent of the current losses,” said ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard.

“Scammers are increasingly using trusted brands like ‘NBN’ to trick unsuspecting consumers into parting with their money or personal information.”

Common types of NBN scams include:

  • Someone pretending to be from NBN Co or an internet provider calls a victim and claims there is a problem with their phone or internet connection, which requires remote access to fix. The scammer can then install malware or steal valuable personal information, including banking details.
  • Scammers pretending to be the NBN attempting to sell NBN services – often at a discount – or equipment to you over the phone.
  • Scammers call or visit people at their homes to sign them up to the NBN, get them a better deal or test the speed of their connection. They may ask people to provide personal details such as their name, address, date of birth and Medicare number or ask for payment through gift cards.
  • Scammers calling you during a blackout offering you the ability to stay connected during a blackout for an extra fee.

It is important to remember NBN Co is a wholesale-only company and does not sell services directly to consumers.

“We will never make unsolicited calls or door knock to sell broadband services to the public. People need to contact their preferred phone and internet service provider to make the switch,” said NBN Co chief security officer Darren Kane. 

“We will never request remote access to a resident’s computer, and we will never make unsolicited requests for payment or financial information.”

It is important to do your research and not accept the word of the person at your door or on the phone at face value.

“If someone claiming to work ‘for the NBN’ tries to sell you an internet or phone service and you are unsure, ask for their details, hang up and call your service provider to check if they’re legitimate,” Ms Rickard said. “Do a Google search or check the phone book to get your service provider’s number, don’t use contact details provided by the salesperson.

“Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer, and never give out your personal, credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know – in person or over the phone – unless you made the contact.

“It’s also important to know that NBN does not make automated calls to tell you that you will be disconnected. If you get a call like this, just hang up.

“If you think a scammer has gained access to your personal information, such as bank account details, contact your financial institution immediately.”

You can find out more information about NBN scams at nbnco.com.au

Have you ever fallen victim to an NBN scam? Have you received a call with a recording telling you your NBN will be disconnected?

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    COMMENTS

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    18th Jun 2019
    10:35am
    These mongrels are getting more and more sophisticated. We have caller ID and we don't answer calls if we don't recognise the number. In saying that, if it is a local number we generally answer but some of the time the person on the other end is a scammer. When we reverse check the number it is a local name and address and a couple of times I rang that number to find that the owner had no idea that their 'phone number was being misused.

    I feel for those who have been scammed and I think that the authorities should be able to find a way to block those callers. The communication industry has come a long way since people in telephone exchanges were how we connected to each other. In a previous occupation I learned to trust nobody and this has enabled us to avoid scammers so far.
    McGroger
    18th Jun 2019
    11:33am
    By the very nature of their attacks these despicable human beings are preying on the most vulnerable of people. For a few years my family lived and cared for my dementia-suffering mother-in-law. It brought home to me how there can be so many variations in the abilities of people to cope with the world they live in.

    Like you, OM, I wish that relevant authorities would put more effort into ridding the world of these, as you say, “mongrels”. (With apologies to some great pets I’ve known.)

    One disappointing aspect lately is that many of the scammers use robocalling, depriving me of the pleasure of blasting them with my sports whistle.
    AussieTuca
    18th Jun 2019
    11:34am
    The problem with caller ID is that some valid institutions do not broadcast their numbers and it appears as "unknown number". Hospitals and some clinics departments for example.
    One must answer or miss the call. It happened to me a couple of times.

    So, answer, listen and hang up if necessary.

    And, Old Man, tell your Felix the Cat to stop worrying so much... It is gonna wear out the carpet...He, he, he...
    KSS
    18th Jun 2019
    12:35pm
    McGroger, at some point even the robocaller scammer will need to speak to you. Hang in there!

    OM the problem for 'authorities' is that many of these scams original from overseas regardless of the apparent local number displayed on your phone. That makes it almost impossible to track the perpetrator and even if you did, they are overseas and therefore out of reach.

    Also I don't think older people are necessarily being targeted (unlike the "fix your roof/driveway" scams of years gone by) but they are the one's doing most of the biting. The NBN may be hot this week, in a couple of weeks it will the ATO after the end of financial year.
    Old Geezer
    18th Jun 2019
    2:48pm
    Most scammers now use a number so those private calls are now nearly always legit.
    Greg
    18th Jun 2019
    3:25pm
    The authorities will never be able to stop these calls, the calls can come through one number today and another one tomorrow, if the gov blocked one number another one will be used.

    Also it's now easy to call someone and have another person's number come up on you caller I/D - that is scammer calls from number 123 145 145 but on your caller I'D screen it will show 521 541 521.

    Impossible to stop them. Of course you could do what we did. built a new house, new area, new phone number - two years now and not one scammer call, in fact not one call from anyone, the line's just there for the internet.
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    20th Jun 2019
    9:57am
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    old frt
    18th Jun 2019
    11:28am
    The best thing to do with scammers is to see how long you can keep them on the line and waste their time so that maybe you save someone less fortunate who does not realise what is going on from being scammed . My record is when we were driving from Newcastle to Port Macquarie (well over 2 hours ) before they hung up .
    maxchugg
    20th Jun 2019
    10:44am
    I agree! I thought I had done well by holding them up for 30 minutes, 2 hours really takes the prize!

    I find that it is relatively easy to tell when the scammers are on the line because the first words are "How are you"?

    I have developed a standard answer, "I'm OK, the solar panels on my roof are producing lots of electricity and hot water, I do support one charity and can't afford to support any more, I have also paid all of my taxes. Now what did you want to talk about?" It has worked every time.

    On another occasion I feigned interest in obtaining solar panels, and within minutes received a call from someone who wanted to make a sale. I obtained his name and address, then told him that I was on the "Do Not Call Register", that I held him responsible for the call I had just received from people who were employed as his agents, and I would be lodging a complaint against him with the registry. That quietened them for a while!
    maxchugg
    20th Jun 2019
    10:44am
    I agree! I thought I had done well by holding them up for 30 minutes, 2 hours really takes the prize!

    I find that it is relatively easy to tell when the scammers are on the line because the first words are "How are you"?

    I have developed a standard answer, "I'm OK, the solar panels on my roof are producing lots of electricity and hot water, I do support one charity and can't afford to support any more, I have also paid all of my taxes. Now what did you want to talk about?" It has worked every time.

    On another occasion I feigned interest in obtaining solar panels, and within minutes received a call from someone who wanted to make a sale. I obtained his name and address, then told him that I was on the "Do Not Call Register", that I held him responsible for the call I had just received from people who were employed as his agents, and I would be lodging a complaint against him with the registry. That quietened them for a while!
    Anonymous
    21st Jun 2019
    8:22am
    people know about scammers...use commonsense...dont do any unsolicited business over the phone and if in doubt ring the company by looking up their number yourself and ask if they had rung you. dont take it at face value that someone from telstra or somewhere else has rung you and never ring any number given to you.
    Karl Marx
    18th Jun 2019
    11:29am
    Yes OM, these low life bastards are getting more sophisticated & devious.
    I only have a smartphone now so any number that comes up that isn't recognised or private I let it go to voicemail. If no message left then it wasn't important enough for me. If the message is genuine then I call back & then list the number in my contacts for future reference.
    If the message is that they are going to arrest me for tax evasion or centrelink / tax fraud unless I call back then bring it on. 3 meals a day, roof over my head, medical & hospital free when needed lol.
    Have to be so careful these days. If in doubt also check scam watch.
    Cowboy Jim
    18th Jun 2019
    11:50am
    Had many of them for the last couple of years, before they were in Indian and Philippino voices but now they employ Aussies or at least people who speak like us, definitely the case with NBN calls. Had a lady in front of me at check out at local Coles buying $400 worth of iTunes, nothing else. Question is: does one say something to her or does one mind one's own business? Opted for the latter and felt a bit sorry afterwards, could have saved her $400.
    KSS
    18th Jun 2019
    12:25pm
    I have noticed that in my local Coles they make announcements over the public speaker system about no organisation (like the ATO, Telcos etc) demanding payment by iTune cards and the like.

    There have been so many warnings over many years about these scams I am continually amazed they still work.
    Tood
    18th Jun 2019
    2:38pm
    Should have said something, a simple question or statement could have elicited the reason for purchase without causing offence
    jackie
    18th Jun 2019
    12:15pm
    Take care of all scams.

    Please don't provide personal information to no one that approaches you by phone or doorstep without you having asked them to.

    There are too many crooks out there.
    Bluefox
    18th Jun 2019
    12:31pm
    I have not had any NBN calls since I informed them that NBN is not scheduled in my area for over 12 months, therefore this is a scam call which I shall report to authorities. Yesterday I had two missed calls on my mobile (no message left) so I went onto my computer to check and sure enough, many people had recorded that they too had received calls from the same numbers as me. It appears both were scam calls, so I'm glad that I did not hear the phone ring.
    Sweetiepie
    18th Jun 2019
    12:38pm
    Nicole from NBN is the one who bothers us, and up to three times a week. We have a landline, which we're going to discontinue, and these calls are always on the landline.

    Another Scam is from someone in India (or maybe out here) claiming to be from the Do Not Call Register. They say that to stop unwanted International calls, you have to re-register. Then they asked for Credit Card details. I asked why, when we didn't provide them when we first registered for Do Not Call. "Oh, we're trying to make it easier for you, ma'am.' Yeah, easier to steal my money. B******s!!!
    Like the warnings say - if you didn't ask for the call and suspect it's bogus, DO NOT PROVIDE FINANCIAL INFORMATION
    roughie
    18th Jun 2019
    1:13pm
    We have been getting these, sometimes several times a day about our internet being disconnected because the NBN is now in our area, the caller using different numbers, some from interstate , others local. We moved house just over 2 years ago when the NBN was being made available in our street, but we left it for the new owner to connect it. however, we kept our old phone number and we have been connected to the NBN for over 2 years at this address, so we think the scammers have purchased old addresses from somewhere. A new scam we received earlier this year related to the "do not call" registry offering to stop scammers from overseas calling us and wanting us to verify who we were by giving our"ID number" found on our credit card above the expiry date. Really???
    roughie
    18th Jun 2019
    1:13pm
    We have been getting these, sometimes several times a day about our internet being disconnected because the NBN is now in our area, the caller using different numbers, some from interstate , others local. We moved house just over 2 years ago when the NBN was being made available in our street, but we left it for the new owner to connect it. however, we kept our old phone number and we have been connected to the NBN for over 2 years at this address, so we think the scammers have purchased old addresses from somewhere. A new scam we received earlier this year related to the "do not call" registry offering to stop scammers from overseas calling us and wanting us to verify who we were by giving our"ID number" found on our credit card above the expiry date. Really???
    Cowboy Jim
    18th Jun 2019
    7:29pm
    Highly likely about addresses being obtained from somewhere. Got calls about police raiding me about tax matters and they had an address I was living at 7 years ago. I also moved taking my phone number with me.
    When visiting a club anywhere and you have to fill in the address book to be admitted use a fictitious address albeit a valid one, because you use a print behind and those prints could be handed out to people with malicious intent. Getting more difficult I know when you have to scan your licence into the slot but some places are still the old way.
    Kate
    18th Jun 2019
    1:13pm
    Absolutely agree "Old Man". There is nothing individual subscribers can do to stop these calls apart from disconnecting their phone. Surely, with all the modern technology, someone could figure out how to stop these criminals. I've registered on DNCall as well as trying to block specific numbers, but they just get a different number. The frustrating thing is when they do speak, you can't understand them (I just hang up) and when my spouse answers he wants to swear at them, but it's just an automatic dialler - doesn't hear him!
    Priscilla
    18th Jun 2019
    2:11pm
    The government insists we use these products but does nothing to protect the public. As if having to use nbn is not bad enough. What we had before worked perfectly. Why 'fix' something that is not broke?
    KSS
    18th Jun 2019
    2:45pm
    Pricilla it is not about the Government, NBN, the ATO or any other organisation or service. It's about people trying to take your money by inducing you to take action under false pretences that you fall for.
    Greg
    18th Jun 2019
    3:27pm
    Yes nothing to do with NBN, it's still just the phone line like before and people ringing trying to trick you.
    Neil
    18th Jun 2019
    2:20pm
    i have posted before . you can stop these calls just get a telstra guardian 301 mk 2 problem solved . received not one scam call last 12 months
    Greg
    18th Jun 2019
    3:28pm
    And how does that weed out fake calls - how can a machine know that the person on the other end of the line is a crook?
    Greg
    19th Jun 2019
    8:24am
    Had a look at that Telstra phone - it's just an answering machine that answers the phone, asks the caller their name and you decide to answer or not.

    Doesn't stop the calls justs screens them and scammers can still get through.
    Old Geezer
    18th Jun 2019
    2:47pm
    You can check the number they are calling from by typing the number into a search such as google.

    New one is they say you need to do something as your phone is going to be disconnected. I just tell them to disconnect it. One scammer told me that wasn't the right answer.
    Greg
    18th Jun 2019
    3:36pm
    I had a call today from Human services, she said she was Lauren from Human Services, is that Greg - yes but how do I know you're a valid caller and not a scammer. I guessed, maybe hoped that it was to do with my Health Care Card claim I sent in 5 months ago but I wasn't sure and she couldn't tell me anything about why she was calling. She couldn't even say something like "It's about a claim you sent in". Nothing until I identified myself.

    I understand THEY need to identify me but how do I identify THEM. She couldn't send an email but she could send a letter which she has now done....supposedly.

    I now know it was legit but at the time I wasn't sure, just makes things harder/longer now with all the crooks around.
    shirboy
    18th Jun 2019
    4:05pm
    I have had 3 calls from the bogus NBN . I just put the phone down & I don't fuss about it.
    janeri9
    18th Jun 2019
    4:22pm
    NEW SCAMMER CALLER ID SUBTERFUGE
    My mobile number was "spoofed" by international scammers on 13 June 2019. They used it as their Caller ID in Australia to trick people into answering their calls and to leave thousands of "missed call"s messages all over Australia to harass me, out of revenge because I dared to block their calls.
    There is a legitimate carrier option for businesses to have a Caller ID that is different from their actual call number. Scammers are now using Australian numbers as Caller IDs for their Australian calls to disguise their overseas location because we are more likely to answer/return calls with a familiar looking number.
    If you answered they tried their scam, if you didn't, MY number was left on your 'phone.
    Sorry to the hundreds of people that were tricked into calling or messaging my number and unwittingly harassing me and preventing legitimate calls and texts.
    I removed the SIM but now have the inconvenience of a new number and the updating of all my contacts and personal details on every online business with which I deal.
    It's early days for this ploy but Telstra tells me that there is nothing they can do to prevent it and no agency to look into the matter. It's particularly bad news for businesses that are losing customers during the chaos and have to to change their familiar advertised number.
    Be careful who you poke, you may get more than you bargained for!
    Report your number on the "Who called me" type of websites to explain and to warn others.
    Mandy
    18th Jun 2019
    5:05pm
    This whole scamming situation is beginning to seem like the old lawless west where the outlaws could just ride over the border to escape the law. The modern version is to scam from a foreign country. Surely the internet has become so important commercially globally for there to be an international police force to catch these thieves in any country. Any country not co-operating should be locked out of the internet.
    Otherwise it is time to organize bounty hunters who could be offered a percentage of the stolen money recovered. I am sure there are some clever kids around that could quickly trace these thieves. They have to leave some form of physical address in order to collect their ill gotten gains. All the authorities seem to be able to do is offer you advice on how you can improve your security.
    arbee
    18th Jun 2019
    11:14pm
    I probably receive 1 to 2 calls a day, all coming from 02 or 03 numbers. These are Australian allocated phone numbers given to shonky overseas call centres. Surely the Telco's have some responsibility as to whom new numbers are issued to. It used to be amusing to keep them on the phone as long as possible and lessen their time to con some one else, but now they have become more sophisticated and tell you that your internet has been compromised and press 1 to speak to a "consultant". This can now sometimes direct you to a call centre that can charge you high call costs for as long as you are talking to them. If it is a robo or recorded message call just hang up.
    Londoner
    19th Jun 2019
    12:11am
    This type of article keeps reappearing from time to time and I keep repeating the same advice - get yourself a blocking phone.
    https://crowdsupport.telstra.com.au/t5/Announcements/Telstra-Call-Guardian-301-Never-answer-a-nuisance-call-again/ba-p/465103
    $72 seems a small price to pay for peace of mind
    There are plenty of YouTube videos to show you how this type of phone works and I'm not aware that you have to be a Telstra customer to buy one.
    jackiet
    19th Jun 2019
    12:07pm
    Had one the other day claiming to be from the 'Do not call' register. What possible reason could they have for wanting verification of my credit card number???
    Polly
    20th Jun 2019
    11:09am
    The last call I received trying to sell me Solar Power - I got an old metal whistle & blasted it as loudly as I could 3 times. Funny thing - I haven't had any more of those calls.
    Polly
    20th Jun 2019
    11:13am
    Another thing - if there are 12 numbers in the missed call, it is probably a scam!

    21st Jun 2019
    8:18am
    it begs the question is it only silly oldies who are getting caught up or are young people much smarter not to fall for these scams which have been advertised so many times it is unbelievable that anyone would fall for them now.

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    13th Aug 2019
    11:41am
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    13th Aug 2019
    11:44am
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