Scammers are posing as National Broadband Network (NBN) employees in an attempt to steal personal and financial information from unsuspecting Australians.
A media statement by NBN Co this week has signalled an 84 per cent increase in inquiries about suspected scams since last October. While there are several approaches being used by scammers, the most common involves the scammer claiming that you face immediate disconnection from the NBN unless you update your financial information.
“It’s important to remember the key point of contact for Australians connecting to the NBN access network will always be their preferred phone and internet service provider,” said NBN Co chief security officer Darren Kane. This is because NBN Co is a wholesale-only company and does not sell services directly to the public.
“We urge residents and businesses to be vigilant (about) callers claiming to be from NBN Co requesting personal or financial information.
“We will never make unsolicited calls or door knock to sell broadband services to the public.
“We will never request remote access to a resident’s computer and we will never make unsolicited requests for payment or financial information,” he said.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) warned yesterday that gift cards were increasingly the payment of choice for scammers, with Scamwatch reports showing more than $5 million was lost in 2018 – a 38 per cent increase compared with 2017.
iTunes cards accounted for $3.1 million in losses – a 156 per cent increase from the $1.23 million reported in 2017. However, Scamwatch has also seen an increase in reports involving other gift cards such as Google Play, Amazon, Steam cards and Australia Post Load & Go prepaid debit cards.
Losses to scams where non-iTunes gift cards were used as payment increased by 530 per cent in 2018 to around $1 million.
“Scammers like to get gift cards as payment as it’s easy for them to quickly sell them on secondary markets and pocket the cash,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
The ACCC says there are several common types of scams involving gift cards. These are:
ATO impersonation scams
The scammer pretends to be from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and claims there is a warrant for their victim’s arrest. The scammer asks the victim to pay an immediate ‘fine’ using gift cards or bitcoin, and claims police will come and arrest them if the fine is not paid.
The scammer calls and pretends to be from a law-enforcement agency or internet provider and convinces the victim they are trying to trace the location of a hacker who has compromised the victim’s computer. They claim they can do this by sending money from the victim’s bank account or via gift card serial numbers.
Victims are also tricked into giving up personal details with the promise of gift cards. Scammers entice victims to participate in surveys by promising gift cards as a prize. However, the surveys extract personal information such as your name, date of birth, address details and even financial details like your credit card or bank numbers.
For further information, go to scamwatch.gov.au.
Have you been targeted by the NBN scam? Have you been asked for gift cards by scammers? Have you ever been a victim of a scammer?