Australians are losing more than $110,000 every month to NBN scams – and already total losses for 2019 have exceeded those throughout all of 2018.
The ACCC issued an alert that details the extent of the problem. Between January and May 2019, Australians lost an average of $110,000 – compared to $38,000 in monthly average losses in 2018. That's an increase of almost 300%, showing that scammers aren't wasting any time in exploiting people.
ACCC acting chair Delia Rickard says that scammers are using trusted brands like NBN to trick people into handing over money and personal information.
Unfortunately, older people remain the group most at risk of falling for the scams.
“People aged over 65 are particularly vulnerable, making the most reports and losing more than $330,000 this year. That's more than 60% of the current losses,” says Rickard.
It's important to remember that NBN Co is a wholesale company and doesn't sell directly to consumers. Internet service providers sell 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,” says 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.
According to the ACCC, 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 may also 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.
“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. 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,” says Rickard.
“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.