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Watch out for scams

The Australian Competition and Consumer Division (ACCC) has an excellent web site at You can subscribe for free to get email alerts on the latest scams. It is very important that friendly trusting decent human computer users sign on to get these alerts. There are some very clever nasty people out there and it is easy to be misled.

Below is an article published by the ACCC in August 2017 which is still relevant today. It is unfortunate that the ACCC does not give more publicity to its website and to articles such as this one.

Watch out for NBN scams

22 August 2017

The ACCC is warning the community that scammers are pretending to be from NBN to con victims out of their money and personal information.

Scamwatch has received 316 complaints this year about scammers impersonating NBN with nearly $28,000 reported lost.

“Scammers are increasingly using trusted government brands like NBN to trick people into falling for scams. Their goal is always to either get hold of your money or personal information,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.

The three common scams reported to Scamwatch that involve scammers impersonating NBN are:

  • signing victims up to fake accounts – scammers will ring victims to ‘connect’ them to the NBN network for a low price. They will often demand payment be made through iTunes gift cards
  • gaining remote access to computers – scammers pretending to be from NBN will call a victim with claims there are problems with their computer. The scammer uses this ruse to gain remote access to the victim’s computer to steal valuable personal information, install malicious software or demand payment to fix ‘problems’ they have discovered
  • phishing – scammers impersonating NBN will call victims to steal valuable personal information like their name, address, Medicare number, licence number. The scammer may tell the victim they’re entitled to a new router, for example, and say they need these personal details to confirm the victim’s identity.

“Australians over 65 are particularly vulnerable to this scam with fraudsters using phone calls to target their victims,” Ms Rickard said.

“NBN will never phone you out of the blue to try to sign you up to a service over its network. NBN is a wholesaler meaning they don’t sell direct to the public. If you get an unsolicited call like this, it’s a big red flag that you’re dealing with a scammer,” Ms Rickard said.

“NBN will also never call you to remotely ‘fix’ a problem with your computer, or to request personal information like your Medicare number or your bank account numbers. Don’t listen to the reasons they give you for needing this information.”

“Finally, if someone ever asks you to pay for a service using iTunes gift cards, it is 100 per cent a scam. Legitimate businesses, especially those like NBN, will never ask you to pay for anything in this way,” Ms Rickard said.

People can protect themselves by following some tips:

  • If you’re ever in doubt about contact you’ve had from someone saying they’re from NBN trying to sell you an internet or phone service, hang up the phone and call your retail service provider to check if the person calling is a fraud.
  • You can only connect to the NBN network by purchasing a plan through a phone and internet service provider. Go to NBN’s website to check if your home or business address is able to connect to the NBN network and see which phone and internet providers are available in your area.
  • Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
  • Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.

If you think you have provided bank account or credit card details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.


  2 comments for “Watch out for scams

  1. Wendy Mayer
    19/01/2019 at 8:57 am

    It is difficult to imagine that you might give control of your computer to a person calling you. Even if that person is a professional from the National Broadcasting Network (NBN). After all, many of us have given control to Telstra technicians whom we have asked to help with some problem.

    Such professional technicians are people we have specifically asked for help. They explain what they plan to do and ask permission to proceed.

    The person who gained control of my computer, said they were from NBN and they could connect me to NBN over the internet. Some people from NBN had been to my place, probably a couple of months ago, when they installed a small white unit at the front of my house. They said someone would come to connect me at a later stage. No one had been back.

    I then had a number of calls from an unknown number that i did not answer. Eventually someone from that number left a message that they were calling from NBN. I should call their number and press 1 if I wanted to speak to a technician to arrange an installation.

    When I pressed 1 a person anwered and said he could install me to NBN over the phone. I would just have to follow a few instructions. He tricked me into establishing remote control of my computer.

    When he blacked out the computer screen I was getting concerned and asked for some identification. He rattled off an number, and asked who I banked with. I told him that was nothing to do with him. He then blacked out my computer screen again.

    After a minute or so the screen returned to normal, and he said he would call back tomorrow.

    If he has it has not been from the number that originally called. Although i have received a number of unsolicited phone calls in the following few days to which I have not responded.

    The only message left on my answering machine was a very gruff voice which said something like ‘you are in there’. There was a lot of background noise so it was not easy to understand the message. I did not return that call.

  2. Olivia
    23/01/2019 at 1:16 pm

    Good advice – thank you!

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