25th Jun 2014
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Scam phone calls
Scam phone calls

Scammers have ramped up their operations over the past few months with more Australians reporting they have been targeted over the telephone. These scammers are enjoying success in Australia largely due to the use of online databases which have contact information about users computers including serial numbers.

A normal phone call from a scammer will start by them introducing themselves and stating for which company they work (most of the time during these scams, it is Microsoft). The scammer will start by mentioning your full name and offering information about your computer to make you believe that they actually are from Microsoft. Once your trust has been gained, they will either offer you free software to fix a problem on your computer, or they’ll offer to fix your computer problem for a fee, when in fact, there is no issue with your computer.

So how can you avoid this scam?

The answer is to simply hang up. No computer company will call you out of the blue to charge you for software or security upgrades. If, however, you receive a call which you believe may be legitimate, ask the caller for their name and/or employee identification number and say that you’ll call them back. If they hesitate, just hang up, if they give you their information, make sure to call them back on a number which you find in a phonebook or on a trusted website, such as Microsoft’s official website.

If you believe one of these scammers has attempted to contact you, or you’ve fallen victim to their attacks, report it to the SCAMwatch website, or call them on 1300 795 995.

For more information about scams in Australia, visit the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) website.





    COMMENTS

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    3rd Jul 2014
    10:11am
    Just tell them to hold while you put through to the complaints dept..then press a few numbers so they hear a dialing sound and leave the phone off while you have a cuppa...hee, hee. when you come back they'll be gone

    3rd Jul 2014
    10:17am
    You can add your number to the DO NOT CALL REGISTER...that lasts for a 5 year period and works pretty well...charities will be the only ones you'll hear from....they are allowed to call apparently. You can access the DO not call register online and add your home phone....I think you can add a mobile number but not sure about that. https://www.donotcall.gov.au
    Tathra
    3rd Jul 2014
    12:19pm
    My numbers been on the do not call register since it began but it doesn`t stop the overseas scam calls only those in Aust. I`ve been getting ones saying they are from Telstra this past week or so plus some that drop out as soon as I answer.
    Golden Oldie
    3rd Jul 2014
    2:03pm
    I have been on the do not call register since it began, and it does not stop these calls from overseas. I am now in the habit of hanging up unless there is a person on the other end immediately. If there is a wait before anyone answers, then its a call centre with auto dialling which is generally either a scam or charity call. I have also had the Telstra calls and I have my accounts with another supplier.
    SolJesse
    3rd Jul 2014
    10:22am
    Further to PIXAPD's reply re "Do not call" register. It doesn't work. I have been on this register and updated it each year and they still get through. I am now telling the scammers I am 90 and what would an old lady be doing with a computer at that age!!
    Andy Leucite
    3rd Jul 2014
    10:25am
    Both good suggestions PIXAPAD, and I have done similar and many other ploys, including claiming I can't understand their accented English, etc, but having your number on the DO NOT CALL register does not stop all of these nuisance/scam calls (not counting charities etc who can still call you, legally). We get annoying calls from the Indian subcontinent etc at least once a day on average. Sometimes three or four, sometimes none.
    Bubbles
    3rd Jul 2014
    10:52am
    I had a call from a scamer telling me they were working for Microsoft and that there was a problem with my computer.He said if I didn't let him fix it they would get into my bank account. I just hung up
    KSS
    3rd Jul 2014
    7:59pm
    Tell them you have an Apple Mac! They soon go away.
    iamnotold
    3rd Jul 2014
    10:58am
    Most of these scam calls have a delay before they say anything after you answer the phone, if no one says anything within two seconds I hang up, don't see any reason to waste my time with them. I use Linux so anyone saying they're from Microsoft is lying!
    franksmith
    3rd Jul 2014
    11:00am
    We need ot expand the 'do not call database' to include these scammers as well as charities and politicians
    Anonymous
    5th Jul 2014
    11:54am
    Now that I agree with charities can post out if they want a donation imo.
    All these calls come just as you take that first bite of dinner! And we are ex-directory as well as on the do not call.
    good suggestions re hanging up. All of our friends and rellies know not to call at dinner time so if we do get one I always answer with
    City Morgue - which stiff do you want to speak to? Silence follows and I hang up. Makes their day I guess if they get it that is - most not being English speakers.
    Jude
    3rd Jul 2014
    11:29am
    We are on the 'do not call register' but still get calls. One last year claimed to be from Telstra and it was to do with a problem on my computer. I told a fib and said I didn't have a computer and hung up. He rang back and told me I did have a computer, and gave me the serial number! I knew it was a scam but didn't want him to keep calling so played along and listened to what he had to say. He acknowledged that there are scammers that make calls, but he was legit calling from Telstra to fix my internet connection problems.Then I asked for his name and said I would ring Telstra just to check and would get back to him a bit later. That was fine, he said, but told me to ring a number which he then gave me. Actually he started to give me a number and then changed it. I didn't ring of course, I would imagine there would be someone at that number who would pretend to be from Telstra and acknowledge that it was all legit. Instead I rang the normal Telstra number to let them know a scammer was using their name. I don't usually go to that trouble. Normally I just hang up if there is a pause, or else if they ask if I am (my name) I just say no that person is not available.
    unicorn
    3rd Jul 2014
    11:49am
    Our number is on the do not call register PIXAPD but it does't stop them we have been phoned by "Microsoft" ha ha, trying to get me to hook him up to my computer complete with bank accounts. Guess what I told him in a very ladylike style???
    ShazzamB
    3rd Jul 2014
    12:07pm
    We invested in a private, ex directory or silent number - roughly $2 to $3 per month depending on the provider - the only calls I get are from charities, and not as many as my parents do, get the occasional scammer, they must work off some kind of database, probably stolen from somewhere else. My usual ploy is to just say yes a few times and let them babble away & not answer after that. My other is to tell them they have called a fax line of a company and did they want to send a fax ? if so could they please press send now, usually they get so confused they hang up on me !
    Gra
    3rd Jul 2014
    7:36pm
    Wow, a talking fax machine?
    Jennie
    3rd Jul 2014
    12:09pm
    I have Mac OS and get these scam calls telling me I need to turn on my computer so they can do something or other to my Windows OS. I tell them I don't have Windows, they are a scam and hang up. My friend says "Windows, yes, I need a window cleaner, when can you come round?"
    Nanna52
    3rd Jul 2014
    12:24pm
    I like your friends idea. The last person who rang with a problem about my windows computer I said I didn't have one. They hung up so quickly they would have got whiplash.
    Tathra
    3rd Jul 2014
    12:27pm
    My phone lines been on the do not call register almost since it began and like the other comments it just doesn`t stop the overseas scammers from calling. Just in the last week or so I`ve been getting calls from "Telstra" to say there is something wrong with my computer. I`ve tried saying I haven`t got one and they hang up, which Telstra wouldn`t do as they know I really do have a computer. The last time I asked the sub-continent sounding man to give me the details slowly as I was writing it down so when I went to the library next time I`d know what to do, yep he hung up too. ShazzamB I like your idea of saying its a fax line so will try that next time.
    Young Simmo
    3rd Jul 2014
    12:33pm
    I get a kick out of these lowlife. I went to the local sports store and bought an extremely high frequency whistle. When I get an obvious scammer I give it the biggest, hardest and longest blast I can muster. I always hope they are using headphones or even better earplugs.
    Sandi (SA)
    3rd Jul 2014
    1:24pm
    I did one better than you I got my whistle for nothing. Son owns a Sport's shop.
    Interested lady
    3rd Jul 2014
    12:35pm
    I them that they have a problem with there server. I don't own a computer
    Fiona
    3rd Jul 2014
    12:44pm
    If they don't answer quickly I too hang up. Have been getting a lot of the ones where I answer and they hang straight up.
    Lately if they say I have a problem with windows I either say that I will use a bit of putty to fix them or that I don't have a computer.
    Got a call on my mobile the other day though to an Indian sounding lady and was nearly going to hang up but apparently she was from Telstra and just wanted to tell me about their benefits.
    This is the trouble with firms using overseas for their call centres, it's hard to know if they are genuine, as they all mispronounce my sirname which is just a very common one.
    I'm on the Do not call register and think it could maybe bar overseas calls..
    Doodlebug44
    3rd Jul 2014
    1:04pm
    I too have resorted to a whistle. I got 3 calls, one after the other so they were obviously trying to annoy me even more when they got told to "go away". The third time I said, "I suggest you stop calling me before something really unpleasant happens to you" and he just laughed so I gave him a long blast on my whistle. He didn't call again. The do not call register does not work, the overseas callers have names and numbers and don't care about the register.
    Sandi (SA)
    3rd Jul 2014
    1:15pm
    Do what I did. Get a whistle and when they ring just blow it in the phone.
    Young Simmo
    3rd Jul 2014
    1:17pm
    Your a bit late with that.
    Sandi (SA)
    3rd Jul 2014
    1:21pm
    Just a warning. The Telstra scams are starting up again too.
    Sandi (SA)
    3rd Jul 2014
    1:23pm
    No I'm not Simmo. It works and it feels great when you do it. Here they always ring when I'm trying to get tea.
    particolor
    3rd Jul 2014
    7:15pm
    PS... My mother is now Stone Deaf in one ear !! But never mind !! She uses the phone in the other ear now !!
    Polly Esther
    3rd Jul 2014
    1:51pm
    I've put my number on the 'don't call register" a number of times. It never did stop them calling. So I gave up and changed my number to a silent one. Guess what? Strike me bloody lucky, it only slowed them down. What now? Change to carrier pigeons?
    Sandra
    3rd Jul 2014
    2:25pm
    Slight segway, but also about scammers. My husbands email account was hacked and he looked up the hotmail number on the internet to get help. The first listing is a scammer. They wanted $200 to fix the issue. Luckily he told me before he paid, using our credit card! I knew he'd called a scammer. I told them where to go and we found the right number and had the hacker booted. Hotmail do not charge to assist.
    On phone scams, I get lots of texts on my mobile telling me I've won money or holidays. Sure, I win competitions I don't enter ...
    We don't answer the home phone and only have it for internet connection. It rings quite often but since we don't give the number out, it can only be somebody wanting money.
    Franny
    3rd Jul 2014
    2:29pm
    The reason why the Do Not Call register does not always work is because some Indian call centres use computers to dial through whole number ranges and when a number answers, the call is automatically passed to an operator. This is also why there is a pause after you answer.
    Adrianus
    3rd Jul 2014
    8:34pm
    I wondered why that happened.
    Huskie
    3rd Jul 2014
    2:33pm
    When they call me I act like an IT ignoramus.
    If they say I have a problem with my windows I say no they open and shut OK and I can see out of them! If they ask what I have on my Desktop I say nothing because my wife gets angry at me if I leave stuff on my desktop, and so on. They finally give up and I have some fun!
    Basically I try to keep them on the line so that it costs them money for nothing!
    AdoredB4
    3rd Jul 2014
    2:36pm
    I get the microsoft ones all the time, a large majority of Indian people are highly religious. Even thieves, so I asked one wasn't he worried about coming back as an untouchable, for the stealing he is doing in this lifetime. I said I was sending him karma ,he burst into tears and hung up. The next one said he didnt care as he was on his last life, I said thats worse as you are now taking that karma to eternity. I am on the do not call register so any who call are fair game.
    Fiona
    3rd Jul 2014
    3:19pm
    Depends who you get. I told an Indian woman scammer she would get bad karma for telling lies but she was back the next week.
    Young Simmo
    3rd Jul 2014
    4:03pm
    I have told a couple of females to stop having sex with their father and guess what, they hang up.
    Marc
    3rd Jul 2014
    3:48pm
    This article is talking about scammers (i.e. criminals). I don't think they're going to be too concerned about whether or not you're on the "Do not call" database.
    Adrianus
    3rd Jul 2014
    5:12pm
    As soon as I hear someone ask for Fiona, or they say I'm mumble from mumble, the reason for my call today is to mumble and make you lots of money, I just hang up.
    Adrianus
    5th Jul 2014
    10:58am
    That's "the owner" not Fiona!!
    particolor
    3rd Jul 2014
    7:23pm
    Well I've read all that !! ..I pick the receiver up and pit it down again end of call !!only twice in 20 years has it rang again almost Immediately and both times it was Telstra..Genuine !!
    Anyone I know rings Me on the Mobile ..case Solved !!
    particolor
    3rd Jul 2014
    7:55pm
    A while back I did answer the phone as I do for pre arranged Time Calls !!..and He said He was from Telstra And asked Me what My Secret Word was ?? I said I've got a Better Idea ! You tell Me !!...He hung up ??
    Adrianus
    5th Jul 2014
    10:08am
    You need to be on your guard. Today they get your secret number, then tomorrow they will ask for your mother's maiden name, then the next day the name of your first dog. Before you realise it your identity has been stolen. People who used to know you no longer do. Keep changing your picture. I like the burger by the way.
    particolor
    5th Jul 2014
    10:22am
    Changing Identity now Frank ! Too many Folks Drooling on the Blog !! You want Fries with that ??..
    Yes.. I've had all of them and as I said to them .."You tell Me " and I'll see if Your Right !.. CLUNK>>DRRRRRR..............
    Alula
    3rd Jul 2014
    8:35pm
    I regularly get a call where there's silence for a few seconds, then a recorded woman's voice says "Goodbye". Any ideas?
    Adrianus
    5th Jul 2014
    11:05am
    If you get the number, google it and you will find a forum of people complaining and some may have even spoken to somebody on that number. But I suspect the computer is dialling too fast for the operators to pick up.
    fish head
    3rd Jul 2014
    8:53pm
    (Evil smile) Invest in an old fashioned postman's / umpire's whistle. It warms the cockles of my heart and it works until the next group starts up.
    Alula
    3rd Jul 2014
    8:56pm
    I'd probably be blowing it at a machine, which couldn't give two hoots. But thanks.
    BB1
    4th Jul 2014
    7:27pm
    Do you really think that these 'scammers' worry about the do not call register. They call mainly from overseas anyway.
    Easy to pick them, they can't speak Australian properly and it is hard to understand them. Within the second sentence they are talking about your computer, and even if you are not tech savvy - you know that there is nothing wrong with your computer.
    I often get calls and when I answer the phone there is no one there, because they use some system where they call numerous numbers. So I say hello politely about 5 times then tell them =bye bye. I know it is these scammers.
    Anyway, always use your common sense - which seems to have gone somewhere now a days, and not with our consumers, and they are so gullible.
    You don't get something for nothing and if it seems too good to be true - it is.
    Also NEVER give out your bank details or card numbers to anyone, especially to someone you don't know. You wouldn't give your card and pin numbers to your best friend so why give it to a stranger over the phone.
    Wake up Australia. Don't be so gullible.
    Just google the word gullible and see what comes up.
    particolor
    4th Jul 2014
    7:39pm
    The gullible Jokes were Great !!..Especially the One about Australian Voters !!!
    Adrianus
    4th Jul 2014
    8:31pm
    Are you Gullible? Click here for free test. Only $1.
    particolor
    4th Jul 2014
    8:47pm
    Cick Here > X ..If You want to share Tonight Oz Lotto win with Me !!
    Adrianus
    5th Jul 2014
    7:36am
    These scammers make it hard for the few honest workers from Lotto who would also get abused and hung up abruptly.
    Radish
    5th Jul 2014
    8:54am
    A whistle comes in handy!
    Adrianus
    5th Jul 2014
    9:02am
    Especially for a referee!
    particolor
    5th Jul 2014
    10:16am
    And a Twinkle !!
    Adrianus
    5th Jul 2014
    10:23am
    News just in....Increasingly alarming rate of industrial deafness among Lotto workers. Unions demanding higher wages to match payouts. Police have hot lead and close in on red faced green haired suspect!
    particolor
    5th Jul 2014
    10:41am
    Whistle Mufflers have been Installed on all Phones !! Using Funds from the Fake Prize Pool Figures !!
    Alula
    5th Jul 2014
    1:50pm
    Four times I've unclicked the "email me when comments are made to this article" - yet the comment notices keep coming to my email?
    Young Simmo
    5th Jul 2014
    1:55pm
    Alula, the un-click button works for me every time, maybe the prob is with your puter.
    particolor
    5th Jul 2014
    2:00pm
    I get the same one up to 4 times at times ??
    Young Simmo
    5th Jul 2014
    2:04pm
    Maybe you should read,
    How To Do It And Not Get It.
    By:: One Who Done It And Got It.
    particolor
    5th Jul 2014
    2:11pm
    By one who forgot to Remember that they had forgotten it ???
    Adrianus
    5th Jul 2014
    2:58pm
    Hal, I think you need to log out for the changes to take effect.
    Abby
    6th Jul 2014
    8:27am
    Yes as was said DO NOT CALL LIST is useless

    But what I would like to know why is it that you pay for the phone line yet researchers, charities and politicians can still call you.

    You can take your name out of the phone book but imagine you get charged an annual fee for doing that.???

    What sort of laws are these ???
    Mamacrystal
    6th Jul 2014
    12:45pm
    The Do Not Call register is only useful for calls from WITHIN Australia.... not calls originating from overseas. That said it does not automatically stop them....I have been on it for years and have had a few calls from within Australia....one of which rang 2 or 3 times and I ended up reporting and one thought they had dialled the wrong number.
    If you are getting calls from Charities you don't support they are allowed bt the Do Not Call register (as are Pollies) however you can ask the charity to take you off their calling list and that seems to work. Haven't found a cure for the Pollies yet;D
    particolor
    6th Jul 2014
    12:57pm
    There is NO Cure for Pollies !!.. They are in every Creek I've ever walked across ...
    Burn them off with a Cigarette !!
    Mamacrystal
    6th Jul 2014
    1:38pm
    I'll try and remember that particolor.....shame IU don't smoke..... maybe a twig with an ember on the end? LOL
    Not Senile Yet!
    7th Jul 2014
    12:20am
    Never mind about the scammers calling from overseas.....easily identified...easily got rid of!
    It's the Parasitic Scammers in our Parliament called Puppets that are legally scamming your votes that you need to take action against!
    Vote the Scammers out!
    Stop Voting for the Scamming Party Machines that control them......blow a whistle in their ears next election!
    Whe you get their how to vote cards (donkey cards) put all the numbers they have supplied you with (so they get in on preferences) down on your vote in THE REVERSE of what they suggest!
    Let's Scam them right outa the Castle!
    Send them a clear message.....no puppets wanted!
    particolor
    7th Jul 2014
    9:36am
    TINTOOKIES ....
    particolor
    17th Apr 2016
    1:37pm
    Bonny's gone ! And only gets a Measly 1/4 Mill to live on a year !!

    I have no Idea how she will make ends meet on that paltry amount ?? :-(
    hacksforcash
    26th Nov 2014
    4:22pm
    Need a hacker? Contact hacksforcash2014@gmail.com
    particolor
    26th Nov 2014
    4:30pm
    What The Hack ??
    Anonymous
    17th Apr 2016
    4:53am
    Thanks @hacksforcash2014@gmail.com. You won't believe I sheepishly contacted him to hack my wife's email and guess what, they done it no time for a couple bucks
    particolor
    31st Jul 2017
    7:29pm
    Strewth !! That put you in the Cold Serve Class !! :-) :-) :-)
    reputable007
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    8:03am
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    tracey09
    31st Jul 2017
    7:06am
    I dont really know much about hacking after so many tries i met Cyberhacking lord who later help me find out my husband has been cheating on me and stealing from my bank account, he had this scheme going for 6 months. He gave me access to his mail,social media account,phone(could see deleted messages) and even track his location, still going to sue to him. Having doubts in your relationship? contact him (cyberhackinglord@gmail.com)
    particolor
    31st Jul 2017
    7:31pm
    The Ex is miles away by now, with my Loot !! :-( :-( :-(
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