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Campaigns launched for National Scams Awareness Week to help you stay safe online

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It’s National Scams Awareness Week and the NBN is one of many businesses and government departments launching campaigns to educate Australians about spotting these online deceptions which have increased dramatically in 2020.

The NBN campaign will aim to leverage the insights and intelligence from Scamwatch to highlight the most common scams and the variations that have emerged in recent months as well as sharing tips on how to stay safe.

Scamwatch has received more than 24,000 reports of stolen personal information in 2020 alone which an increase of 55 per cent from the same time last year.

More than $22 million has been lost by Australians to scammers who also stole their personal information.

Phishing scams are the most common type of scam – up 44 per cent over last year – with scammers impersonating government departments, the ATO, myGov, Telstra and the NBN in a bid to gain personal information, banking and other financial details.

This information can then be used to impersonate them and access bank accounts, superannuation, impersonate them on social media and even take out loans in their name.

More people aged 25-34 reported losing personal information than any other age group.

This year’s National Scam Awareness Week has more than 100 partners from the government and business sectors – including NBN Co.

In fact, NBN-themed scams were one of the most common reported to Scamwatch with more than 2,300 reports between January and June this year.

Australians lost more than $900,000 in NBN impersonation scams alone in 2019 – and most of the victims were aged 65 and older.

The ACCC’s Targeting Scams report revealed NBN-themed scams were the most common scam reported by the Australian Communications and Media Authority with the Nicole from NBN robocall scam the most popular example.

Recent reports indicate Nicole has been replaced by Carol in the scam along with two fresh NBN-themed stings.

These include residents being sent a fake and fraudulent invoice for payment after being offered an NBN upgrade over the phone.

The other involved scammers convincing victims their computer was emitting harmful radiation and they needed to move away from their screen or cover it completely so the cyber criminals can have unmonitored remote access to their computer.

“Scammers thrive on uncertainty and misinformation when it comes to the use of the NBN brand to access people’s computers to steal information or push for unnecessary payments,” said NBN Co Chief Security Officer Darren Kane.

“This is why it is critical that we continue to educate the community about how they can protect themselves and others from being scammed.

“NBN Co is a wholesaler and does not make unsolicited calls to sell products, request remote access to computers through programs like Team Viewer, ask you to purchase gift cards in lieu of cash payments, threaten to disconnect your services, or request personal or financial details.

“This week, our teams will be concentrating on arming residents, and particularly those who help the vulnerable in our community, with the information on what to look out for and what to do if they suspect they have been contacted by a scammer.

“The team at NBN Co is committed to empowering the community with knowledge, education, and information to help protect our loved ones from these insidious scams.”

NBN Co’s top tips for protecting against scammers:

– Visit NBN Co’s website at www.nbn.com.au/scamadvice for information on how to identify and avoid potential scammers or for advice if you suspect you have been scammed.

– Remember NBN Co will never call and ask to access your computer or advise that you’re going to be disconnected. NBN Co is a wholesaler, which means it does not sell phone or internet services directly to the public. People need to contact their preferred phone and internet provider in order to make the switch.

– Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer or devices via the installation of programs, such as Team Viewer.

– NBN Co does not make automated calls, such as robocalls, to advise of disconnections to NBN or existing copper phone line services. Do not engage with these calls.

– Do not share your financial information (i.e. bank, credit card or gift card details) or personal details with an unsolicited caller or door knockers trying to seek payment for a service over the NBN network.

– If in doubt, hang up and call your retail service provider on their official customer service centre number to check if the call is legitimate. Do not use contact details supplied by the caller.

Top 5 tips from the ACCC to protect your personal information:

– Don’t be pressured into giving away any personal information by someone who has contacted you, no matter who they say they are.

– Don’t click on links in unexpected emails or messages, even if it appears to have come from a legitimate source.

– Use strong passwords for your accounts and internet network, and never share them with others.

– Install anti-virus software on your devices and keep it up to date.

– Limit what personal information you share about yourself online, including on social media.

What to do if you’ve think you might have been scammed:

– Contact your bank or financial institution immediately.

– Report the matter to your local police. You could also report your issue to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC).

– If you have provided remote access to your computer or financial information to a scammer, contact IDCARE on 1800 595 160.

– To protect others, report scams to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) via Scamwatch.