Have you ever received a phone call or SMS out of the blue that wasn’t quite right? Did the caller request sensitive personal or financial details such as your bank account or credit card number? Did they want remote access to your computer?
You may have encountered a scam phone call. Common phone scams include:
Callers pretending to be from government: Many advance fee scams initiated by telephone involve scammers posing as representatives from government departments, for example offering fake grants, rebates or refunds in return for up-front payments.
Callers pretending to be from companies: It is also common for scammers to pose as staff from well known companies and organisations asking for personal details, payments or remote access to the victim’s computer. Scammers posed as representatives from banks, computer companies, telecommunications services, postal and logistics services, and solar panel installers.
Scam SMS: Text messages are also commonly used by scammers to send competition or prize scams. Scammers often try to snare many people with one SMS sent en masse - this is known as spamming. Scammers may request personal details or payments in scam SMS messages. If you respond, you could also be charged at premium rates or find yourself signed up to a costly subscription service.
How to protect yourself from phone scams:
|One of the SMS phone scams currently being sent to people with thanks to the Esperance Express 23 March 2012|
Be cautious if you are contacted by someone claiming to be from government or a well known company and they request personal details or up-front payments.
If you are in doubt about the authenticity of a call, don’t commit to anything. Instead hang up and call the company or government department directly using their official customer service number to verify that it is genuine. Never use contact details provided by the caller, instead find the number via an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
Never confirm or provide personal details, credit card numbers or other account information over the phone unless you initiated the call and trust the other party.
If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your computer and requesting remote access - hang up – even if they mention a well-known company. Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
Remember that you can still receive scam calls even if you have a private number. Scammers can obtain your number fraudulently from black-market sources.
Microsoft scam – take two
The phone rings and at the other end of the line is a scammer claiming to be from Microsoft, wanting to gain access to your computer and personal details, and worse still charge your credit card for the privilege.Now to add insult to injury, victims are being targeted a second time
Update 4th October 2012 : Global action busts scammers posing as Microsoft
Joint action between three international regulators has thwarted a massive global phone scam, with US authorities this week winning court orders to close down and freeze funds of imposters posing as Microsoft employees offering to fix PC viruses. Read more
SMS competition & trivia scams
An SMS competition or SMS trivia scam usually arrives as a text message and may encourage you to enter a competition for a great prize.The scammers make money by charging extremely high rates for the messages you send, and any further messages they send to you. These charges could be as high as $4 for each message sent and/or received.
Smartphones are becoming a big part of many Australians’ lives but unfortunately scammers also love new technology and will try to take advantage of any opportunities it offers. View this scam awareness video to see ACCC Deputy Chair Peter Kell discuss how you can use your device safely and how to outsmart scammers.
Baida Group phone scam
Your phone rings and what do you know – it’s another telemarketer. This time the person on the end of the line is from Baida Group of Hong Kong. And if you just answer their three question consumer survey you could win an mp4 player! It’s a way to hook you in and begin grooming you in order to steal your money.
ATO Refund Scam
Scammers are using the ATO name to fleece thousands of dollars from victims. Scammers pretending to be from the Australian Tax Office (ATO) is nothing new but in spite of repeated warnings by WA ScamNet and the ATO Western Australians still fall victim and sadly it can often be the more vulnerable members of our community.