We receive calls each month from panicked clients who have had a scammer call pretending to be from Microsoft, Telstra or some other reputable organization. Whilst the story varies each time, it’s typically along the lines of they have detected virus activity on your computer, and for a small fee they can connect remotely and fix the problem.
In one recent case, once the scammer had been given remote access they proceeded to erase all the data on the persons computer. In addition they used the credit card provided to make a number of fraudulent transactions. Luckily we were able to recover majority of the critical data, however some data was still lost.
If you receive one of these calls, the best advise is to just hang up. Don’t ever provide them with your credit card details, or banking information. If you have already had one of these scammers remotely access your computer, we recommend you contact your financial institution ASAP (and keep a close eye on your accounts), then have your computer checked over by a trusted IT Company.
SCAMwatch (a website run by the ACCC) has some great advice on handling these types of calls.
- If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be a representative of Telstra and their call relates to a problem with your internet connection, just hang up.
- If you have doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a business, organisation or government department, contact the body directly. Don’t rely on contact details provided by the person – find them through an independent source such as a phone book or online search.
- Remember that you can still receive scam calls even if you have a private number or have listed your number on the Australian Government’s Do Not Call Register. Scammers can obtain your number fraudulently or from anywhere it has been publicly listed such as in a phone book.
- Don’t let scammers press your buttons – scammers use detailed scripts to convince you that they’re the real deal and create a high pressure situation to make a decision on the spot.
- Always keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall. Only buy computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source.
- 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 a stranger remote access to your computer, even if they claim to be from a reputable business.
- If you think your computer’s security has been compromised, use your security software to run a virus check. If you still have doubts, contact your anti-virus software provider or a computer specialist.
- If you think you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.
You can report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.