Scammers are generally quick to adopt strategies that involve new and unknown territories in order to baffle their prey, and with much of Australia getting ready to jump on board the NBN, it’s no surprise they’ve started exploiting this fact.
NBN Co has released a statement (opens in new tab) claiming that it has received a total of 9,500 calls over the last three months (an average of over 100 per day) with residents and businesses reporting that they had been targeted by a scam caller posing as an employee of the company itself.
Considering that this figure only takes into account the number of cases that have actually been reported, it’s fair to assume that there's a great many more unreported calls, and that it’s occurring much more often than the 100 reported cases per day.
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How they scam
Posing as an authority figure working with NBN Co, scammers have apparently been attempting to coerce personal and financial details out of their targets, sometimes even asking for remote access to the victim’s computer.
NBN Co’s statement is being made as part of an awareness drive to alert customers – both prospective and existing – to the dangers of these scammers and the steps to best avoid them.
The company hopes that it will simultaneously save these customers from being ripped off, but also not deter them from making the switch to the NBN due to a lack of trust.
How to avoid getting scammed
The most significant and underlying point made by NBN Co’s chief security officer, Darren Kane is that, “As NBN Co is a wholesaler, we will never contact residents or businesses to sell phone or internet services.”
Kane continues, “We will never make unsolicited calls or door knock for the purposes of seeking access to people’s computer, threaten to disconnect your services or request personal or financial details.”
The only parties that will actively try and sell you an NBN service are Retail Service Providers (RSPs), such as Telstra and Optus. That doesn't mean scammers aren't posing as the latter either, however; TechRadar's Australian office has itself received at least half a dozen scam calls over the last few months, with many claiming to represent Telstra. As such, if you receive a call claiming to be from any one of these businesses, exercise a large degree of caution – especially when handing over personal details – and if in doubt, just hang up.
NBN Co has a dedicated page on protecting yourself from scams (opens in new tab) for anyone seeking further details.