Last year, we wrote about common NBN scams to keep an eye out for. Unfortunately, statistics show that an alarming number of Australians have indeed fallen victim to such scams, and the amount of money lost has only increased in the past 6 months.
According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), during the period from January through May 2019, Australian consumers reported monthly losses exceeding $110,000AUD stemming from NBN scams.
This is an increase of nearly 300% compared to the average monthly losses suffered throughout 2018, which landed around $38,500.
So why is this happening?
The nefarious success of NBN-related scams is due in part to the enormous national awareness of the nbn™ brand. Sadly, scammers are taking advantage of this to try and confuse consumers and trick them out of their hard-earned dollars or personal information.
These scams may seem very realistic. For instance, victims may receive a call from someone purporting to be from the NBN and offering new services or Internet speed tests. These scammers may ask for identifying details such as name, date of birth, and home address, and they may also ask for payment details. Other NBN scams target customers during power outages, offering desirable options like “blackout coverage” to get the customer back online more quickly. This, of course, is a ruse, but customers in the midst of a blackout are vulnerable and perhaps more willing than usual to get their connections restored.
Pay attention to regular news reports to keep abreast of common scams making the rounds. Listen to your gut, too. If something seems amiss, it probably is.
Here’s what to remember about the nbn™, and about scams in general:
- They will never contact you to solicit services, either by phone or in-person. As NBN Co chief security officer Darren Kane has said, “People need to contact their preferred phone and internet service provider to make the switch.”
- NBN Co staff will never request remote access to your computer or to your Internet connection.
- While you may receive calls from nbn™, banking information will never be requested during these calls.
- Do not give out personally identifying information over the phone (or online) especially to an unsolicited and/or unknown caller.
If you think you may have been targeted by an NBN Scam, report the incident immediately to your bank or financial institution, the police, and via the SCAMwatch report scam page. Timely reporting of scam behaviour can help stop it in its tracks.
Be sure to speak to older members of your family about these scams as well. Sadly, Australians aged 65 and over are especially vulnerable to these scams, accounting for nearly 60% of the financial losses.