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Telstra releases new home phone to protect against scammers

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With the number of telephones scams on the rise, Telstra has released a new Call Guardian home phone to protect its customers after receiving more than 4000 reports of scams this year.

NSW customers (1734) made the most reports about these deceptions followed by Victoria (758), Queensland (737), Western Australia (371), South Australia (217), Tasmania (48), the Northern Territory (27) and the ACT (21).

These scams include people impersonating Telstra representatives, asking for access to a customer’s home computer to fix a non-existent problem or fake virus and telling people their home line will be disconnected if they don’t pay a fee.

The Telstra Call Guardian 301 is the first home phone that has a built-in virtual assistant that will ask unknown callers to announce their name before the call is connected.

When the phone rings, the person at home picks up the phone to answer the call before hearing the caller’s name announced.

From this point the person can then choose to block or accept the call or send it to the built-in answering machine.

The device can store up to 1,000 numbers and when these numbers call they will come straight through with the addition of Call Number Display which can be added at extra cost.

“We know unwanted calls can be very frustrating for our customers,” says Telstra’s director of fixed voice and platinum services Jennifer Douglas.

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“From scammers offering to ‘repair’ the family PC to salespeople calling just when you’ve settled down in front of the TV, they can be an unwelcome intrusion.

“We already do a lot of work in arming our customers with the information that can help them distinguish scammers from genuine callers. Now customers can have their very own tool to block unwanted calls.”

TELSTRA’S TIPS FOR HOW TO AVOID PHONE SCAMS

* If you’re not sure that the person on the other end of the phone is legitimate, hang up and call the organisation by using their official contact details.

* Be wary of sharing personal, credit card or banking details over the phone, unless you’ve made the call or the phone number came from a trusted source.

* Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.

* Make sure your computer is protected with regularly updated anti-virus software.

* If your alarm bells are ringing or you think something’s not quite right, just hang up.

Customers can report telephone scammers or rogue telemarketers by calling Telstra on 1800 260 270.