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Watch out: scammers about!

031WatchOutScammersAboutThe changes that need to happen as part of the national switch to NBN will affect everyone, so it’s important to be vigilant against unscrupulous individuals who will use this to their advantage. Fraudsters pretending to be from NBN are targeting individuals, especially those who use a home landline. It’s best to be wary of anyone who unexpectedly claims they’re signing you up to the new service!

The principal aim of the scammers is to extract your most valuable personal information from you, such as your name, date of birth and Medicare number. Using these details, scammers may be able to gain access to your bank and superannuation accounts. Scamwatch, set up by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has recently received over 300 complaints about such activity. Some people report having been scammed out of thousands of dollars. Unfortunately, people aged over 65 – who are more likely to be using only a landline and are more likely to be at home during the day – are particularly vulnerable.

Now is a good time to make other people in your life aware that they could be the victims of such scams.

How you could be targeted

Here are just a few of the preferred strategies scammers use:

  • Unsolicited cold-calling – Scamwatch has reported an increase in complaints about callers who impersonate NBN staff to request personal details or money.
  • A deal you can’t refuse – scammers may offer an amazing deal to sign you up (eg, a reduced price for connection) and could ask you to pay them in unusual ways, such as with iTunes gift cards.
  • Asking for access to your computer to “fix” a problem – scammers may claim there’s a serious problem with your computer and ask to access it remotely; once in, they can install harmful software or gain access to your personal data.

Forewarned is forearmed

It’s important to know that NBN is a wholesaler, and will never contact you directly by phone to sell you anything. Although NBN will deliver the new network, phone and internet providers, such as the supplier of your current services, will facilitate the sales.

If someone calls you or turns up at your home asking for your personal details, such as your name, address, Medicare number, car licence number and bank account details, don’t give them out. It is best to contact your service provider directly or consult the NBN website to find out which service might suit you best.

Benefits to all

Benefits to signing up to NBN using the legitimate channels include:

  • faster and more reliable phone and internet access;
  • improved internet access in remote areas;
  • greater opportunities to access cloud-based services; and
  • better online engagement with clients and customers.

Some of these will be of greatest benefit to businesses, but individuals will also benefit, especially those who live outside of major cities where broadband access is currently not so reliable.

Find out more

To find out more about NBN, including when the NBN network will be available at your home or business address, you can go to the NBN website (https://www1.nbnco.com.au). You can also follow @scamwatch_gov on Twitter, or sign up to Scamwatch radar alerts to keep abreast of security warnings.