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Scammers Rake In $7.25m Impersonating Telstra & Other Companies

The ACCC is warning Australians to watch out for remote-access scammers claiming they represent organisations like Telstra or Amazon, with more than $7.25 million lost this year.

Remote access scams involve tricking victims into downloading software like TeamViewer or AnyDesk that allows remote control of computers and is typically used for tech support.

Scammers will often impersonate trusted organisations such as Telstra, NBN Co, eBay, or Amazon in unexpected phone calls or texts, claiming the victim’s account has been compromised or they have been billed for a purchase they never made, and urging them to download remote access software in an attempt to “assist them” or “catch the hacker”.

Once a target has given the scammer access to their computer, the scammer can use it to impersonate them via email, internet banking, PayPal, and other services.

Delia Rickard, ACCC.

According to Delia Rickard, deputy chair at the ACCC, remote access scams are among the fastest growing in Australia, preying on fears of fraud and cybercrime.

“These types of scams target and impact all people and can be convincing. People aged 55 and older lost over $4.4 million, accounting for almost half of total losses.

“Young people reported losing on average $20,000 and eight Indigenous Australians, some in remote communities, lost a total of $38,000,” she said.

$1.95 million alone has been lost to scammers impersonating Telstra, with Amazon impersonators raking in $1.24 million; NBN Co and eBay are also on the list of commonly-reported impersonations.

Rickard has urged Australians not to let anyone who contacts them out of the blue remotely access their devices.

“If you receive contact from someone claiming to be from a telecommunications company, a technical support service provider or online marketplace, hang up.

“If you think the communication may have been legitimate, independently source the contact details for the organisation to contact them. Don’t use the contact details in the communication.  Also, don’t click on any of the links,” she said.

Around 6250 remote-access scam reports have been made to Scamwatch this year, with Telstra topping the list of most commonly impersonated organisations at 1730 reports; NBN Co came in second with 1023.

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