Every time your phone rings it could be someone trying to scam you out of your money thanks to the recent increase in the number of people being ripped off by shrewd criminals.
Customers have been warned about the potential dangers and asked to exercise extreme caution before sharing any information over the phone.
The latest scam involves people impersonating the Australian Tax Office (ATO) and demanding payment with iTunes cards to cover outstanding tax payments.
Here are the phone scams to watch out for:
ATO iTUNES CARD SCAM
A warning has been issued to Australians not to fall for the devious scam that involves criminals impersonating the ATO and telling people they have outstanding tax that needs to be repaid.
They then demand the payment be made with iTunes cards or pre-paid VISA gift cards which are then quickly on-sold or cashed.
If a person calling you ask for payments in gift cards – that should ring alarm bells.
If you think you’ve been scammed or want to confirm the legitimacy of an ATO claim call 1800 008 540.
“CAN YOU HEAR ME” SCAM
The scammer calls a number and asks the person who answers the phone “can you hear me” over and over.
When the individual says yes, the criminal records the response and uses that recording to create a voice signature.
This voice signature could be used to sign up the customer to an unwanted service or to defraud them.
AUTOMATED BANK CALL SCAM
An automated call that impersonates your banks tells you there is an issue with your account and asks you to use your phone keypad to confirm your name and then enter your banking details and password.
You can’t talk to anyone as the call is automated and only proceeds to the next step if you enter a response.
Tech Guide actually received a call from these scammers impersonating the Commonwealth Bank.
We checked with the Commonwealth Bank about the validity of the call and they confirmed it was a scam.
MICROSOFT TECH SUPPORT SCAM
A cybercriminal calls publicly listed numbers so they know your name and impersonate a Microsoft tech support team member.
They have been known to ask for permission to remotely access your computer to troubleshoot an issue they found in an attempt to access your personal information.
Other have said a virus has been detected and that after a payment they can rid the computer of the problem.
Microsoft’s tech support staff will never call you so if you receive a call from someone claiming to be from Microsoft, you know they’re trying to rip you off.
PRIZES AND FREE VACATION SCAMS
Another common scam is telling customers they’ve won lavish prizes or offering a drastically reduced prize like a trip or a cruise.
But the red flag to look out for is if they ask you to pay a small collection fee or ask you to pay only a small amount in exchange for your discounted prize.
If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.