If you receive a call out of the blue claiming to be from ‘WhatPhone’ offering a free mobile phone with a cheap contract then hang up – it’s a scam.
Firstly, there is a legitimate business called WhatPhone at https://whatphone.com.au/ which is a mobile phone plan comparison website. But they do not ‘cold call’ customers and have nothing to do with this scam.
Victims of the scam report receiving an unsolicited call offering a free mobile phone if they signed up to a telephone contract. To get access to the cheap plans they were required to give their identification and credit card details.
One victim reported more than $13,000 worth of transactions being made to their credit card.
How the scam works:
- You first receive a phone call offering the free phone and cheap contract deal
- The contract email looks like the real thing with detailed terms and conditions. However, the email address is slightly suspicious firstname.lastname@example.org
- They request credit card details plus the usual 100 point ID information including Medicare card, driver’s licence and possibly ABN details to start the contract – typical of a phishing scam
- They send the phone but on the wrong contract
- When contacted about this, they request for the phone to be returned and claim they will send an iPad to make up for the error
- However the return address is not a business address and does not match the address on the real WhatPhone website
- They use your credit card to make fraudulent transactions
It’s difficult not to be fooled by scammers using good looking logos, websites and real business names, but there are ways to avoid falling for their tricks.
Top tips to avoid this type of scam:
- Hang up if it seems too good to be true. Remember anyone who phones out of the blue offering a special deal may not be who they say they are. If you don't want to just hang up, you can take down notes of the deal but then do your research first before signing up or giving out personal information.
- Do not let them pressure you. If it is a legitimate deal it should still be available even after you do some homework.
- Go online to check any details they give you including their business name, address, phone numbers, etc. See if other people have reported them as a scam and call us at WA ScamNet on 1300 30 40 54 for advice.
- If you have received a phone or contract - contact the phone company directly (Optus/Telstra etc.) and have it cancelled.
- If you have made any payments or provided any bank details, advise your financial institution immediately and request a charge back if you used a credit card.
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