Byte Me Article 415 – Scammers Jumping on the NBN Wagon

A New Scam is on the Rise
Latest Wave Uses NBN Upgrade As Way Into PC

During just the last 2 weeks we have received well in excess of a dozen phone calls from scammers trying to fraudulently extract money.  Mostly it has been during business hours and they have been using the current NBN forced upgrade to business phone lines that is happening right now in our region as the excuse.

For scammers this is perfect timing as businesses are currently under pressure to upgrade / migrate from existing PSTN and ISDN based telephone systems to NBN / IP based technology.  Right now, all our regional businesses are also getting legitimate calls and letters from the likes of Telstra / Optus for the above reason, so many business owners have their phone scammer guard down at present.

We have talked in length about phone scams in previous articles however this latest approach deserves a mention as it is already well honed and well timed.  When you get the call, it is an automated message telling you that either your Internet connection or your phone line is going to be cut within the next 24 hours.  The automated call asks you to press button 2 on your phone to prevent this happening.

When you press button 2 you are put through to a person with a foreign accent – just as you would expect lately from Telstra / BigPond.  This hard to understand ‘tech’ person then wants you to be in front of your PC so that you can execute some commands because your computer has been ‘hacked’.  This is the part of the scam that starts to hurt.

The computer commands will stop your PC from responding properly at which point they will blame the ‘hackers’ and put you through to a 2nd level technician who will put the squeeze on for credit card details to get it all sorted.  At all times you can hear many other scammers talking flat out in the background trying to part hard earned money from other victims.

When confronted about the scam these people turn very nasty and become quite ruthless.  They are after your money and have no hesitation in asking for it.  So how do you know the difference between a legitimate call and one of these characters?

To start with, Telstra will rarely call you.  They are mostly sending letters out about these phone line disconnections and if they do call, don’t be afraid to test them.  If it is a genuine caller from Telstra they should be able to tell you your Telstra account number and the amount of your last bill.  Ask for this proof of identity.

Another way to pick up on the scammers is that for a change they are not informing you that the call will be recorded for quality and coaching purposes.  The lack of this stupid announcement is also a dead giveaway.  At the end of the day you can simply hang up or ask them to provide proof of who they are.

We all need to be more vigilant with these scams as the number of times that they have tried calling our phones in just the last 2 weeks is evidence enough that this latest prank is proving very lucrative for the perps. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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