The scam catching older Aussies

Australians, and particularly older Australians, are losing more money to NBN scams, with reported losses in 2019 already higher than the total of last year’s losses, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Consumers lost an average of more than $110,000 each month between January and May, compared with around $38,500 in monthly average losses throughout 2018. This represents an increase of nearly 300 per cent.  

“People aged over 65 are particularly vulnerable, making the most reports and losing more than $330,000 this year. That’s more than 60 per cent of the current losses,” said ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard.

“Scammers are increasingly using trusted brands like ‘NBN’ to trick unsuspecting consumers into parting with their money or personal information.”

Common types of NBN scams include:

  • Someone pretending to be from NBN Co or an internet provider calls a victim and claims there is a problem with their phone or internet connection, which requires remote access to fix. The scammer can then install malware or steal valuable personal information, including banking details.
  • Scammers pretending to be the NBN attempting to sell NBN services – often at a discount – or equipment to you over the phone.
  • Scammers call or visit people at their homes to sign them up to the NBN, get them a better deal or test the speed of their connection. They may ask people to provide personal details such as their name, address, date of birth and Medicare number or ask for payment through gift cards.
  • Scammers calling you during a blackout offering you the ability to stay connected during a blackout for an extra fee.

It is important to remember NBN Co is a wholesale-only company and does not sell services directly to consumers.

“We will never make unsolicited calls or door knock to sell broadband services to the public. People need to contact their preferred phone and internet service provider to make the switch,” said NBN Co chief security officer Darren Kane. 

“We will never request remote access to a resident’s computer, and we will never make unsolicited requests for payment or financial information.”

It is important to do your research and not accept the word of the person at your door or on the phone at face value.

“If someone claiming to work ‘for the NBN’ tries to sell you an internet or phone service and you are unsure, ask for their details, hang up and call your service provider to check if they’re legitimate,” Ms Rickard said. “Do a Google search or check the phone book to get your service provider’s number, don’t use contact details provided by the salesperson.

“Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer, and never give out your personal, credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know – in person or over the phone – unless you made the contact.

“It’s also important to know that NBN does not make automated calls to tell you that you will be disconnected. If you get a call like this, just hang up.

“If you think a scammer has gained access to your personal information, such as bank account details, contact your financial institution immediately.”

You can find out more information about NBN scams at

Have you ever fallen victim to an NBN scam? Have you received a call with a recording telling you your NBN will be disconnected?

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Written by Ben Hocking

Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.

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