Almost 40 percentage of all scams in Australia are committed over the phone. It is less likely for “The informed” to fall for such traps. The scammers target people indiscriminately as it is a game of percentages for them. They are after your money or personal information. As a general rule, never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer, credit card details or any other personal information. Scammers employ many ways and means to get hold of your money. If not asking for your credit card details, they may ask you to make payments through Western Union or through iTune Gift Cards. One need to be aware that, in Australia iTune Gift cards or prepaid cards are not a mode of payment for any services especially for Government services. Usually customer service personnel from Australian businesses of repute or the Government Agencies speak good English bearing a few exceptions due to the recent introduction of overseas call centres. Any unsolicited call asking for your financial details must be avoided. If the phone line is not clear or have a lot of back ground noises as if called through VoIP, it definitely is a scam. We have created a list of all major ongoing telephone scams in Australia to help our readers identify them.
The Call back scam
If you receive a couple of telephone rings from an international destination, giving little or no opportunity to answer the phone, more likely it is a trap. Do not return the call if the number is not known to you. When the receiver of the missed call dials back, they start to be stung with international premium call rates as the scammers have set up a toll number. These calls often originate from countries with highest toll rate and the fees are split between scammers and the telephone company. Once you lose your money, definitely you are not going to get it back.
Can you hear me Scam
This is a phone scam that tricks an individual into saying “yes” in order to record their voice to authorise financial charges. The scammer introduces himself as a representative from a reputable organisation such as a bank or a service provider.
After the introduction, the scammer asks the recipient whether they can be heard clearly, and then records the consumer’s “yes” response in order to obtain a voice signature. By using the ‘yes’ as a voice signature the scammer will authorise fraudulent charges by telephone.
A call from the Department of Human Services or Centre Link
You get a call from a person from Human Services Department or Centrelink. The scammer will inform you that you are entitled to more money from Centrelink but must provide your personal details to prove your identity. The scammer will then ask you to send money via a wire transfer service to pay a fee, warning the Centrelink payments may be cut off if you do not comply.
A call from Australia Post
You receive a telephone call from someone claiming to be an Australia Post employee or a staff member from an Australia Post retail outlet. The caller advises you that Australia Post has been unsuccessful in delivering a parcel to you and redelivery can be arranged after you make a payment. The payment amount may vary and the scammer may ask for payment in a number of ways such as credit card or international wire transfer.
You receive a call claiming to be from the Department of Home Affairs with the caller requesting money to progress visa applications or threatening with deportation if money is not paid. The caller identifies themselves as an employee of the Department, and typically introduces themselves using a first name. The phone number might appear to be a genuine official number.
Always remember – The Migration Department will never request money over the phone, let alone threaten you with deportation if the money is not paid.
Recently an Indian immigrant was targeted, with the scammer identifying himself as an immigration official.
The scammer said that the migrant had made a mistake while filling up her immigration form. The scammer threatened that if that is not rectified she will be arrested and imprisoned and will have to pay a fine of $2000. The victim paid $6,000 via Western Union and Money Gram for correcting the mistake. In most cases the victims are real dumb individuals as in the above said case. Usually they are older people who are conned or people who have turned off the rational side of their brain and are just scared
The scammer will call you pretending to be from NBN or an NBN provider like Optus, Dodo or Telstra. Their intention is to con money out of you and also to collect your personal information.
The scam works this way.
You get a call from an NBN provider offering you cheap connection. The caller will collect all your personal information in the process. They may even demand payment through iTune Gift cards.
Do not entertain any such calls. If you want to make sure whether it is a genuine call, google the NBN providers phone number and contact them directly. Never fall for the telemarketer traps. If anyone asking you to pay by iTune gift cards, that definitely is a scam.
Remote access scams
Remote access scammers try to convince you that you have a computer or internet problem and the caller will begin by asking you to switch on your computer then guiding you through to gain remote access to your computer. Usually they pretend to be from the technical service department of a large telecommunication company like Telstra, or even Microsoft and start the conversation by saying, your computer is downloading data from their servers. The caller will have an Asian accent and there will be a lot of background noise during the call.
Large Telecommunication companies never call you to fix your computer. So do not continue the conversation. Hang up immediately.
A call from ATO
This scam call originates from India with the call centre most probably located in Gujarat or Maharashtra.
You get a call from a number that looks like local Australian number. If you attend the call you hear a robotic message, as below
“As per our recent audit, we have identified incorrect sorted tax filings, and we regret to inform you that your account has been marked delinquent on account of tax avoidance,”
“As our letters sent to your registered address have also returned unsigned, and undelivered resulting into a petition note to be filed against your name, including a warrant for your arrest.
“Now before the case is sent for execution, and you receive the legal course of notification, to reach our concerned officer call on 03 83 … 630. The number again, 03 83 … 630. Resolve your matter immediately.”
Never call back the number given by them. If you want to make sure the authenticity of the call Google the ATO number and call them.
Call from the Do Not Call Register
The scammer will introduce himself as a representative from the “Do Not Call Register”. Typically, the scammer starts the call by asking consumers, how many telemarketing or nuisance calls they receive in a day. The caller then offers a device they claim will prevent all unwanted calls, explaining there is a charge for installation that can be paid in instalments by credit card. The caller may also indicate they are pretending to be a telemarketer to test whether the consumer’s phone company would let the call through.
Call from Australian Bankers Association
The Caller will claim to be from the Australian Bankers’ Association. The caller will ask who you bank with, how long you have banked with them and your level of satisfaction. or convince you to transfer money to receive some money you are owed. In the process they will ask for your personal and banking details, including your name and driver’s licence number, bank account or credit card number, PINs or internet banking login etc. They may also ask you to transfer money through Western Union or Moneygram to receive a larger refund.
A call from Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions
You get a call supposedly from the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions requesting you to call the Office back in relation to legal proceedings against you. It is a recorded message.
The call suggests your home is under surveillance, and failure to respond will result in prosecution. Ultimately, the intention is to trick the call recipient into providing bank account details.
Solar Panel Rebate
You receive a call from a Solar Panel Company with offers of Government Solar Rebates if you are to sign up to purchase Solar Panels.
Some of these calls used to be genuine. But in any case, Do not provide any personal information such as bank accounts, credit cards or any other financial information. The best way to proceed is, instead of giving your details to them collect all the required details from them. Do a google search to find out how to avail the rebate from Government directly. Contact the providers directly, do the negotiations and find the best deal.
The thumb rule is never ever sign up for anything over the phone without doing a proper research. Even if you are dealing with a genuine provider, you are losing your opportunity to shop around and get the best deal. You could be paying many times more by agreeing to sign a deal with the first caller.
Never signup for anything – Never give your details like address or correct name. Provide only fake details if you have to
What you should know
Customer representatives from Government agencies and large businesses of repute speak good English and never be abusive or offensive to you.
They never pressurise you to make any payments or threaten you with immediate arrest or deportation.
Genuine callers never request payment via unusual methods such as iTunes gift cards or other prepaid cards
No genuine caller will ask you for money up front in order to receive a refund or other payment
All Government agencies will provide you with a range of options for paying debts.
If you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be from a government department and they claim that you are entitled to money, hang up. If you have any doubts about the identity of any caller who claims to represent a business, organisation or government department, contact the body directly.
Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
If you think you have provided bank account or credit card details to a scammer, contact your bank or financial institution immediately.