Monthly average losses to NBN scams almost triple in 2019

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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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Written by Ben

46 Comments

Total Comments: 46
  1. 0
    0

    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.

    • 0
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      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.

    • 0
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      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…

    • 0
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      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.

    • 0
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      Most scammers now use a number so those private calls are now nearly always legit.

    • 0
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      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.

    • 0
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  2. 0
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    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 .

    • 0
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      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!

    • 0
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      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!

    • 0
      0

      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.

    • 0
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      The callers who ring you about solar panels are salesmen,and however irritating they may be what they want is to introduce you to solar panel dealers . They do not ask for personal details nor for money.
      The scammers always want details from you about your computer or whatever, try to tell you the tax man is after you. They almost always are offering to “help” you with a problem.

  3. 0
    0

    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.

  4. 0
    0

    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.

    • 0
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      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.

    • 0
      0

      Should have said something, a simple question or statement could have elicited the reason for purchase without causing offence

  5. 0
    0

    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.

  6. 0
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    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.

  7. 0
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    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

  8. 0
    0

    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???

  9. 0
    0

    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???

    • 0
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      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.

  10. 0
    0

    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!

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