When not to answer your phone

Your phone rings but you don’t recognise the number. Do you answer it in case it’s Tattslotto calling to say you’ve won? Or ignore the call because you know that 40 per cent of scams in Australia are carried out via phones?

Of course you ignore it. Wise decision.

According to Scamwatch, phone calls are the No. 1 choice for scammers in Australia, followed by email at 26.5 per cent and text messaging at 15 per cent.

The latest scam, called Wangiri fraud, is from an unknown caller using an overseas phone number most likely bought on the ‘dark web’ who disconnects after just one or two rings. The aim of the scam is to get you to call back. Don’t.

If you did, your call would be re-routed to a premium rate number overseas and you would be billed exorbitant sums for the privilege of listening to pre-recorded messages.

ACCC’s Scamwatch said it had 277 reports of Wangiri fraud in one week.

If the caller is bona fide, he or she will leave a message. If there’s no message, you can bet it’s a scammer – or a telemarketer, and you can live without both.

Callers seeking personal information and claiming to be from Centrelink, the NBN and the Australian Federal Police regularly do the rounds.

Delia Rickard, Deputy Chairwoman at the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says: “Phone calls are so easy, it’s very cheap and in countries where labour is cheaper, you’ve got whole call centres devoted to doing these sort of scam calls and I think that personal touch gives them a greater likelihood of getting more victims.”

Be alert for:

  • Callers from computer software companies wanting to access your computer.
  • Poor quality calls.
  • Calls purportedly from government agencies asking for bills to be paid – particularly in the form of pre-paid gift cards such as iTunes.
  • Callers seeking any financial details.

What should you do? Hang up or don’t answer the call in the first place and report the call to authorities.

Have you been targeted by scammers?

Written by Janelle Ward

RELATED LINKS

Phone scammers getting sneakier

Police are warning Australians of a sneaky phone scams.

Never give scammers iTunes cards

If you are ever asked to provide an iTunes card as payment, it is a scam.

Refund ready for scam victims

The ACCC is urging scam victims to act quickly to get their money back.



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