Scammers are pretending to be from the NBN to try and get personal information, calling people at home with fake offers on behalf of the Australian government.
The scams are targeting people over 65 and government body Scamwatch says it has received 316 complaints in 2017 about scammers impersonating NBN with nearly $28,000 lost in the scams.
One method used by scammers involves asking for a fake connection to the NBN at a discount price to be paid for using iTunes cards, with victims asked to read out the numbers over the phone, with the cash value resold.
Others involve identity theft with the scammers seeking the name, address, Medicare and licence numbers, asking victims to confirm their ID for a free router.
The most alarming example is an old ruse whereby scammers call and pretend to be from NBN. They say there is a problem with the victim’s computer and they they need to gain remote access. They then steal personal information, install malicious software or demand payment to fix supposed problems.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) deputy chair Delia Rickard says the NBN will never call to try to sign people up to 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,” she said.
“Australians over 65 are particularly vulnerable to this scam with fraudsters using phone calls to target their victims.”
ABC Radio business editor Peter Ryan is among those targeted by the scam and recorded a man with a foreign accent calling him at home. Under further questioning from Ryan he claimed to be from provider iPrimus.
The only way to connect to the NBN is buying a plan through a phone and internet service provider. The NBN website has details on where its service is currently available. The roll out still has another three years to go and currently covers around a third of metropolitan areas and two-thirds of regional Australia.
Delia Rickard says that if anyone is ever in doubt about someone saying they’re from NBN, hang up the phone and call your retail service provider to check if the person calling is a fraud.