“There’s something wrong with your computer,” reports the caller who says they’re from Telstra, and then the fun begins, with the questions leading you to a website and a scam possibly ensnaring you in the process. Unfortunately, these calls are happening more frequently, and the only defence you have is knowing that it’s all a crock.
Here’s the bad news: scam calls are increasing, with Telstra — one of the companies that scammers are pretending to be calling from — telling GadgetGuy that there has been a “significant increase” in these scam calls over the past year.
“The criminals operating these scams are trying to sell customers fake software updates, or trick them into disclosing their personal details over the telephone so those details can then be used illegally,” said Peter Jamieson, Telstra’s Executive Director for Customer Advocacy.
“The increasing number of these telephone scams is concerning and customers should be alert to any attempts to trick them into disclosing their credit card or banking details over the telephone.”
These calls aren’t new, and are generally classed under a form of security called “social engineering” whereby the the callers attempt to gauge the victim’s trust by reporting that they’re from a said company, and you can trust them.
Just like with the fake Microsoft calls, the scammer will pretend to be from a company, and if you’re on a computer that doesn’t have internet security and relies on Windows, will get you to go to a site that can take control of your computer, convincing you that you need to hand over some details or pay them to fix this problem, a problem that they created by introducing you to it.
This style of scam isn’t the same for all scammers, but most these days tend to be about technical support for your computer, with banking details asked for at one point during the conversation, which will later be used to take even more money.
With these calls on the rise, it’s worth noting that neither Telstra nor Microsoft will ever call you to inform you of something being wrong with your computer, unless you have started the phone call to begin with and it’s a phone call back to you.
Telstra adds that if you’re unsure if the person on the other end of the phone call isn’t who they say they are, hang up, and call the organisation using the official details to confirm.
“Telstra is encouraging its customers to protect their personal information and be particularly wary of telephone calls from numbers they don’t recognise,” said Jamieson.
And as always, make sure you have some form of internet security application on your computer, a piece of software which will likely stop remote access calls dead in its tracks.