5th Jul 2018
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Telstra scam threatens instant phone disconnection
Telstra scam threatens instant phone disconnection

Australians are being targeted by a sophisticated scam whereby scammers claim to be from Telstra and threaten to disconnect your phone services within one day if actions are not taken over the phone.

Thousands of Australians have already been contacted by these scammers. Our very own David has received calls from these individuals on multiple occasions over the past week. Judging by the accent of the callers initiating the recent calls, these scammers are operating from outside of Australia, beyond the reach of our privacy laws.

The caller will normally claim to be able to fix the issue for a small service fee that is to be paid upfront over the phone. They have also been known to ask people to download software onto a computer so that the scammer can install malware to steal your details. If you continue talking to the caller, but resist or question their claims, they are likely to threaten to sue you for putting Telstra’s infrastructure at risk.

According to the SCAMwatch website, Australians have been getting fooled by this effective scam since 2014. Scammers in recent weeks appear to have ramped up their activity along with calls where the operator claims to be from Microsoft alerting you to a virus on your computer.

If you are receive a call of this nature, SCAMwatch recommends you just hang up the phone.

Have you received one of these phone calls in the past? Explain what happened below to keep us informed.

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    COMMENTS

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    Jennie
    16th Jul 2018
    10:22am
    Yes I had a phone call (more than once) telling me I had a problem with Windows. I use MacOS... A friend had the same call and said, Yes, Windows? When can you come and clean them for me."
    IanM
    16th Jul 2018
    10:31am
    I get calls from "Telstra" and "Microsoft" technical departments almost on a daily basis. I usually start off with "Where have you been. I've been waiting all day for your call". The conversation usually goes downhill from there. When they threaten to disconnect my phone my response is always "Oh please do. Then I won't be subjected to any more calls from you lot". And with Microsoft I just tell them that I don't have an internet connection so their call is irrelevant to me. I don't know what I'll do after the nbn is installed. Probably the same.
    Cowboy Jim
    16th Jul 2018
    7:26pm
    We have the NBN with the landline and we still get those calls IanM. If they get to you just let them hang on using their time and after about 5 minutes they are gone. I tried everything else but the whistle and they are still trying.
    clarkey
    19th Jul 2018
    7:04am
    I have actually been getting more scam calls since I had the NBN connected. Depending on my mood I will hang up or string them along until the caller gets so frustrated he hangs up, or I let it go to my answering machine on the phone, friends and relatives or genuine business will leave a message and I call them back.
    Jen
    16th Jul 2018
    10:48am
    Our household has had numerous calls, so many I cannot count over the past 12months. We hang up,? Also I have our number registered on the please do not call register and get other callers from Overseas about solar rebates and bitcoin. Often more than one per day. There will be a ring during the day and when I pick up the phone, no one is there. I understand that the scammers ar checking to see if the number is live and active. Then they will follow up with another call around dinner time, when people are home. It is really annoying.
    Alula
    16th Jul 2018
    10:49am
    A week or two back I had an initially very persuasive call from someone purporting to be from Telstra, a woman of Asian accent with a Western name. I hung up, she rang straight back asking in an aggrieved tone why I'd hung up, when she was trying to help me? My suspicion was further aroused when she put me through to a "Telstra engineer" also with an obviously Asian accent who said his name was "John Taylor", that there was a problem with a scam because of my newly installed internet connection (not with Telstra), & that I needed to have my computer on so they could fix it. I asked more questions, during which "John" became more & more agitated when I asked for verification. "I will send you an email Ma'am!" "I'm waiting for your email," I said, whereupon he hung up. I've had two more calls beginning the same way and hung up on both of them.
    Sampancho
    16th Jul 2018
    10:54am
    I find singing " I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts " in my best Indian accent tends to get rid of these annoying ratbags.
    Infinityoz
    16th Jul 2018
    11:31am
    That's a great idea, I might adopt it lol. I get these calls all the time, plus another scam one where they try to tell me my landline can now block numbers. It can't of course. But they go on to say that my credit card number will be my identification and naturally they want me to tell them what it is. Haha!

    With the "Telstra" ones, they are easy to spot since Telstra is NOT my provider ... wouldn't you think they'd restrict their stupid scam calls to Telstra customers? But of course they are all overseas so have no idea who provides the services in Australia. The Microsoft ones are even more stupid - I just laugh at them and ask why they don't update their scam, since the whole world now knows about their nonsense. That makes them hang up at once ... but woot! @ singing "lovely bunch of coconuts" ... gonna do this in future :)
    Alula
    16th Jul 2018
    7:48pm
    Infinityoz - my lot said since all our telcos come through Telstra, my non-Telstra service was at risk.
    KB
    16th Jul 2018
    11:36am
    I get calls but do not answer/ If it is important then the person will ring back Have a code with a family member, You need to be one step ahead, People who do not have the internet are often called.
    Spare a thought for the elderly who will be the ones to suffer
    clarkey
    19th Jul 2018
    7:08am
    Exactly why my 91 year old mum doesn't answer first call. We use a code as well.
    Lippy
    16th Jul 2018
    11:40am
    FIRST, ask for their employer number ( regardless of which company they claim to be from ) . Ask them to repeat it to make sure you have it written correctly. NEXT, ask for their main number as you are busy right now and will call them back. Problem solved, they will hang up. If they give you that option to call back, DON'T USE the number they called you on or anything other than what you will find from providers web site or YellowPages.
    As ex-Telstra staff and no services with them, have caught them out every time. Microsoft will never call you to say you have a problem, otherwise you can have them up for phishing your computer. Also, NEVER EVER use words like "YES", "OK" or "RIGHT" of press anything on your phone other than hanging up.
    Mr Bent
    16th Jul 2018
    12:15pm
    I receive about 4 a day and its about time the govt/telstra done sxomething about them instead of sitting on their hands looking like they don't care!
    AutumnOz
    16th Jul 2018
    1:37pm
    I doubt they do care if we all get hundreds of these calls each day Mr Bent.
    The Do Not Call Register is also useless.
    Cowboy Jim
    16th Jul 2018
    7:29pm
    Get a loud whistle and blow their hearing out, I know maybe not legal but they are not around here for free legal aid are they?
    HDRider
    16th Jul 2018
    12:22pm
    I don't receive these calls anymore as I have grossly offended them and been blacklisted.
    I would go along with their little scam for as long as I could, pretending to be old and stupid. Then they would get angry with me, and ask, "what do you are on the screen"? Then it started, I would tell them a picture of a naked girl, remarking on their nationality and telling them that it was his sister etc, then we'd discuss their parentage with reference to my father being stationed there during the war years and being his mum on the docks etc etc..
    Yes, i'm very bad, but I recorded one of these lil jerks and it really provided a lot of laughs. I believe these to be 'entertainment' calls, one should enjoy them as it is a perfectly legal way to absolutely waste a scammers time and money, be extremely rude/ vulgar on the phone without anyone giving a flying whatsit!
    May I suggest Good people that you also look on YouTube under scammers and see how the hackers get the scammers and, in some cases, steal their lists, and info and then format their hard drives, oh joy, it's better than anything on this list TV we have here lmao
    Cowboy Jim
    16th Jul 2018
    7:30pm
    Way to do it HDRider!
    McGroger
    16th Jul 2018
    12:47pm
    With the Microsoft Windows ones, a few times I’ve said that I don’t have a Windows computer, I used to have an Apple but now I’ve moved onto a Banana. “Have you heard of them?” I say. “They’re the latest thing. The operating system has this special bend in it allowing you to see into the future. They’re made in Queensland where they have these really strong men - if you get two of these men, one holding each end of the operating system, they bend it just so…”

    About then is when they usually hang up.

    But I’m tiring of it all, so now I’ve got a whistle. I look forward to trying out.
    AutumnOz
    16th Jul 2018
    1:38pm
    Have fun.
    Jen50
    16th Jul 2018
    2:22pm
    I get rid of Telstra and Microsoft scammers pretty quickly but I had fun one day and played along with the fake Microsoft guy. I pretended to be sitting at my computer (I was, but it wasn’t turned on), I also pretended to be minding my fictitious grandson Christophor who I said was being naughty and teasing the cat & had to keep apologizing to the scammer for the interruptions. He was so nice and patient, lol. We finally got to the bit where he asked what it said in the box that had (supposedly) appeared on my computer screen so I said “It says that the person you are speaking to on the phone is a scammer so hang up immediately”. I could hear him still trying to keep me on the phone as I hung up, lol.
    Nerk
    16th Jul 2018
    3:04pm
    Well they can get a little thick at times one rang me to change telephone companies I said I didn't have a phone and they said sorry and hung up, sharp as a billiard ball eh
    Jen50
    16th Jul 2018
    7:58pm
    Haha, I’m going to try that next time to see what the reaction is.
    Gazza
    16th Jul 2018
    3:23pm
    It is good to see that the more mature users of computers are getting their own back. Unfortunately I was fooled by these scammers (not seriously) during a long running issue I have with Telstra as they slipped a phone contact in just as I was waiting for a Telstra call back. One important thing that came out of my ongoing issue with Telstra is that, if the Scammer Tech directs you to down load "TeamViewer" to remotely access your computer (DONT) you know that it is not Telstra and Telstra will not ring you unless you instigate the contact. Why Telstra do not inform users about this is ridiculous. Another way to stop the scammer phone calls is to have Telstra put a block on certain country's that the call comes from. Have done this (middle east ) and have cut these calls out by 70%. Looking at other country's next. Obviously I have no family or need to contact anyone from these country's. Good Luck everyone and stay alert
    clarkey
    19th Jul 2018
    7:15am
    Doesn't Telstra now have most of their call centres off shore? That could explain why we get so many fake calls.
    ozirules
    16th Jul 2018
    3:51pm
    I used to have a lot of fun pretending to be deaf and asking them to speak up until they were shouting down the phone then say 'there's no one there dear' and hang up. I've also tried the whistle and answering each question with a fart noise which is very effective.Now I'm over it as it happens all too often so I just tell them
    to f@%k off which seems to work quite well. I tried blocking the numbers but they keep changing them.
    Gazza
    16th Jul 2018
    4:11pm
    Good on ya Ozirules, the block on the phones numbers is not very effective as they change as you said. The block that Telstra suggested was a complete country or region. for example Middle East, India, SE Asia, Philippines. This is only good if you do not have family living overseas. Apparently you can call that country but any calls originating for there are blocked. I tried the whistle but "she who must be obeyed" got cranky so I had to stop.
    patti
    16th Jul 2018
    4:19pm
    I was scammed this way last year, only instead of Telstra impersonators, it was supposedly a reputable computer firm. They froze my computer screen and then wanted a fee to rectify it. I argued with them and negotiated a lower fee, got my computer working and immediately called my bank to report the problem. I ended up paying nothing, but no longer answer the phone if I don't know the number
    ozirules
    16th Jul 2018
    4:44pm
    beware Patti, I know some one who was scammed the same way then received another charge on their credit card without notice,12 months later. The scammers said it was an annual fee. My friends had the bank reverse the charge then changed their credit cards to avoid future charges.
    clarkey
    19th Jul 2018
    7:20am
    That happened to me a couple of years ago. I just pulled the plug out of the back of the pc, waited an hour, rebooted and did a virus scan and got in contact with my anti virus program company and let them look at my pc from their office. What I did had resolved the problem. Gave me a huge scare though.
    ranga
    16th Jul 2018
    4:46pm
    One recent recorded call with much better spoken English than the norm ..same old story, but such more 'at home' English usage may seem to be genuine. Look out.
    Charlie
    16th Jul 2018
    6:57pm
    I have had multiple calls in the last week from someone who will not leave a message on my answering machine. i suspect an automatic dialing system.
    old frt
    17th Jul 2018
    2:22pm
    can anyone beat 55 minutes stringing along one of these scammers.
    We were on hols in Harrington and out for our morning walk, in the end we were talking about different places in Oz and how he would like to visit here from his home in London.
    OnlyGenuineRainey
    19th Jul 2018
    10:09am
    No phone calls from Telstra - yet - but I get a bill every month and I don't have a Telstra service. The last one was a threat to call in debt collectors and disconnect me. Will be interesting to see what they disconnect!
    Old Geezer
    19th Jul 2018
    12:09pm
    Your credit score would now be negative and you wont know about it until you connect with someone else.
    inquisitive
    19th Jul 2018
    3:04pm
    We had that scam call just an hour ago. The person on the other end was aggressive. I think the best way to handle them is to just put the phone down, not disconnect and walk away for a while. After all they are paying for the call not us.
    Nnud
    20th Jul 2018
    11:19am
    Here's another way to deter them.
    Tell them how sexy they sound and that you'd love to meet them somewhere for coffee. Ask them what they're wearing etc.
    Noodles
    21st Jul 2018
    11:39am
    Husband had one last week...his reply "go right ahead and disconnect me" and hung up...


    Tags: scam, telstra, phone

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