Overseas call centres are selling your private data

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Overseas call centres have been frustrating Australians for years, and now they’re selling our private data. When will Australian businesses accept their responsibilities?

Fairfax Media has revealed that AI Solutions, a Mumbai-based firm, is selling the private details of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone customers.

For between $350 and $1000, you can buy the phone records, home address and other details of the major telco customers. If the target is a VIP, politician, police officer, or celebrity, the prices run even higher.

AI solutions is just one of several companies that is selling private information received illegally from employees of call centres.

The three major telcos have responded with the following:

Telstra stated that it is “aware this type of sophisticated criminal activity does take place from time to time across most industries and we do everything we can to protect our customers’ data”.

Optus stated it “is aware that a third party has attempted to infiltrate our call centres seeking access to customer data” – and has referred the issue to the Australian Federal Police.

Vodafone stated that it is “aware there are individuals who do attempt to illegally access data through various channels from companies and organisations which hold customer information” – and has urged anyone with information to contact them.

Read more at Sydney Morning Herald.

Consumers are already fed up with outsourced call centres, with simple issues often taking hours to resolve. Will this incident be the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Or will telecommunication companies continue to outsource regardless of customer inconvenience and breaches of trust? 

Would you pay more money for your phone or internet service if you knew that the carrier was running their own call centres in Australia?

If you’re fed up, feel free to sound off in the comments below, but don’t stop there. Give your provider a call and let them know; that’s if you can find anyone in our country to contact.

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Written by ryanbo


Total Comments: 27
  1. 0

    This has been going on for years and all the companies know it but cannot do anything unless the incident happens in australia and they are not likely to go back to australian call centres.The call centres offer low bids to get the telco,s business then must have some add on activity to make a profit and your details are it.

  2. 0

    I have feared this for years as many Call Centres have access to our most private information. Identity fraud is all but assured when criminals get their hands on this sort of information. They will.

    • 0

      Agree MICK, we go to great lengths to suppress any documentation with our details. Shopping is difficult if a credit/debit card is used because we are required to give out some private info but on a plus side, we shop in Australia and trust our laws will protect us. If those who use overseas call centres cannot ensure protection of our privacy then government has to make it illegal to use overseas call centres.

      As a matter of interest, when Germany lost WWI (The Great War) they also had to relinquish all of their overseas territories. The result of this was that only in Germany is German spoken by the masses. If you have a ‘phone or internet problem, you just know that you will not be sent to an overseas call centre. Not a lot of people know that.

  3. 0

    There’s no reason other than ugly corporate greed for the universal hiring of cheap and nasty call centres. When did it become a sin to provide employment in Australia?

    A decent government would immediately put an end to this. They can do so now, but of course will tell all sorts of BS reasons why they can’t. Can’t upset the mates who finance them, buggar the rest of the Australian people.

    I think the evidence shows that this lack of national interest/corruption is spread across all politicians. I wait, in futile hope, for a decent government to start a Royal Commission into illegal collusion between company bosses.

    • 0

      Correct. The same thing driving tax cuts for the rich, lowering of wages and working conditions and the general attacks on pensioners. Class warfare at work!

    • 0

      You ARE absolutely right Gecko 🙁 The ONLY reason companies go ‘off shore’ for any services is to make more profits/maintain profits/reduce Australian staff 🙁 They probably DO know that there is this liability of security breaches but …… WTF !!…… profits come first folks 🙁 Don’t hear much about this abhorrent practice, do we, from the Government but by golly they can throw muck and vilify the Australian workers Union can’t they !!!

    • 0

      In the late 90’s I worked for a major Telco as a Project Manager and a project I was involved in was the amalgamation of 114 Call Centre’s throughout Australia into 6 Call Centre’s (one in each States Capital City). I completed the project with the assurance that those displaced would be offered jobs within the Company they worked for (whether they accepted the offered job was not a concern to me).

      After the success of that project, a short time later, my Management offered me a further project from the same company to run a dual 500 pair overland and undersea cable to India so that the Call Centre’s that I had previously amalgamated could be outsourced.

      It took me several minutes to explain to the authors of this project that I could not participate in something that would cause 1,500 Australians to lose their jobs and 500 Indians be employed , in a foreign country, in their stead. I also pointed out that personal data where we have no effective control over it was subject to corruption.

      I was told by the Vice President (yes, a US Company) that I would not have a job with my employer by the time I returned to my office. I told him that he was correct as my resignation would be handed to my Management upon my return. I resigned and happily returned to my profession as a Accountant. I said it then that there would be security issues and that reality is now upon us.

  4. 0

    This does go back a long way, I think the first noticeable overseas call centres were in the late 80’s, early 90’s. The first that I remember, anyway!
    I worked in employment during the 90’s, and late naughties. In 91 or 92 I remember being part of a group set up to recruit for a local call centre – a company wanted to cash in on the ill feeling towards overseas call centres with the outrageous accents. Usually excellent English, mind you, just incomprehensible.
    But, we never managed to get more than half the vacancies filled, over an 8 month period. And a lot of those we did get dropped out after a relatively short time.
    People hated it. And they still do. When you talk call centre employment the response is usually “Call centres? What sort of a job is that?” Have to admit, it is not something I would do myself.
    Actually did do some sales calling, early 80’s, and was a disaster. Selling garden fertilisers and such, I think, and I was dreadful. When the customer said they lived in a 3rd storey unit, and had no need of those things, I agreed, and hung up. The supervisor would get stuck into me for not trying to sell them stuff for window boxes.
    I didn’t last long 🙂
    So I doubt that call centres will ever be much of an employment opportunity in this country, even if companies could be persuaded to bring them back.
    BUT – the security of our information is another story altogether, and is solely the responsibility of the company doing the outsourcing. They are responsible for our data, and ensuring it is safe. How they manage it is their problem. But it IS their problem, and they have to find a solution.
    Don’t let them escape their responsibilities by confusing the two issues, the employment and the data security. Focus on the security issue. Who knows, the answer may lie in bringing the centres back to Australia!
    But I doubt it.

  5. 0

    I believe it is a disgrace that the call centres were moved overseas in the first place. We as customers have no recourse when our information is stolen. Companies should bring these centres back to Australia and provide employment to Australians as well as provide security to our information.

  6. 0

    All Call Centres must be in Australia . If a Company choose to go off shore to get cheap dangerous labour it must notify any person of concern. Our present gutless Gov. must make it law and a good one for the One Nation to oppose.It is more than likely that organised crime is right into this . Ok Malcome lets show some guts and start to govern. If I find a company that use these Call Centres I will not give them my business.

    • 0

      The Government (of any hue) does not have the power to dictate how private companies run their business and nor should it.

      If and when Australians stop looking for the cheapest version of everything, whether that be a bottle of milk, the next TV or a phone and data plan, then, and only then, will the companies providing the goods or service be likely to consider ‘coming home’. Until then, whinge and whine all you like, nothing will change.

    • 0

      You know KSS I NEVER whinged or whined about the service I received when I rang banks, companies or any business when I had to wait a couple of minutes to talk to a PERSON in Australia !! Plus I never asked the companies to ‘out source’ this service either and the crap ‘service’ I usually receive so your comment about ‘cheapest version of everything’ is way out. Try putting the horse BEFORE the cart and you might see why it keeps happening, despite customer dissatisfaction 😉

    • 0

      KSS I wonder what your opinion is then of the current spat of free trade agreements rushed through by Robb. These give international corporations the power to dictate how elected governments run their countries.

      Companies will only lift their game when customers get angry enough to walk away and either take the business elsewhere or do without.

      A lot of discretionary spending will have to stop anyway as the austerity measures cut in. May as well start early.

      I’ve just changed my electricity billing company to the last Australian owned mob simply because they answer the phone and speak with an Aussie accent I can understand.

      And best of all they haven’t lied to me yet.

    • 0

      Any wonder Trump is going to pull out of it ! And I’ve heard there are a couple of other Country’s not very Impressed with deal either and will pull out !! An African Country and I’m not real sure that another isn’t Malaysia ?

    • 0

      PS.. Don’t let our Government anywhere near a Deal or Contract They are “Sign It Mad” 🙁 🙁

  7. 0

    I put in a complaint to Telstra and carefully typed out the details of the problem.

    I then got a phone call from a person speaking with a foreign accent. They were difficult to understand and I wasn’t happy about being called, when I had my mind on something else.

    They said they were calling about my complaint and then started to ask a lot of questions (that were supposed to be about the security of the call)

    After that they asked me what the complaint was about. I said what!

    Where is your copy of the complaint? I have already given it to you in writing, now I have to repeat it verbally until you understand, then you go to your supervisor and repeat it until they understand. Get it sorted out and email me with the solution.

    They continued to phone me and only emailed to give me their phone number, but I refuse to deal with them.

    So it doesn’t surprize me when I hear that the purpose of the call centres is to get information out of people, rather than provide direct access to technical staff who can provide immediate solutions.

    • 0

      Yes Charlie I had the same situation with Telstra and in future will take a packed lunch and go hang out in the Telstra shop until they sort the problem out.

      I will not give out personal data to any one calling me at home no matter who they say they are. My experience with Telstra and the NBN and calls going to voicemail convinced me there was a gouging going on.

  8. 0

    Why are Aussie jobs going offshore. This puts Aussies onto welfare where they use up our taxes instead of paying tax,this happened in America a look what that resulted in. Let it be a warning to our pollies. DUMB DUMB DUMB..

  9. 0

    Do what I do !! Don’t answer the Phone ! Or tell them to Bugger Off !! Or tell them to send you a letter stating ALL the details:-) (They Wont) :-):-) And NEVER say YES to Anything 🙂 🙂

  10. 0

    I decided not to use Telstra for our internet account because of offshore calling centres but now the one I chose has also gone offshore. I can’t win.
    It is however handy when I get the spoof calls telling me there is something wrong with my Telstra internet and I tell them where they can go.

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