Australians are being warned of a worrying new Telstra scam that is being sent to thousands of people via email.
Web security company MailGuard released a statement explaining a new phishing email scam is being sent to people across the country that isn’t actually from Telstra. The fraudulent emails came to MaulGuard’s attention on Thursday and are being sent to a large number of compromised email addresses.
People are getting caught out by the scam because the email looks legitimate. The email looks as though it’s from Telstra and includes a “view bill” link. When users click the link, they are directed to a blank page where a malicious file is downloaded.
According to MailGuard, scammers are using a number of tactics to convince victims the email is real. For example, the scam in question includes a sentence reading “Please note: Telstra will never ask you to provide credit card, or banking details via email”.
This is a message most companies include in their emails. The scammers go one step further by including a link to Telstra’s real phishing advisory page, which is also included on most official emails from the phone company.
Telstra customers have been sent similar messages and scams in the past, with the company advising customers to beware of dodgy emails. It explained that the scams are either emails that ask for personal or sensitive information, or encourage people to download or open an attachment that can be harmful.
The emails that ask for personal details, known as phishing scams, usually ask people to provide things like their date of birth, password or banking information. In some cases, victims are asked to provide this information on a website that looks very similar to the official Telstra website.
“That website will frequently look similar to a legitimate Telstra website (such as My Account) and potentially ask you for even more sensitive information,” Telstra said on its website.
On the other hand, emails that ask users to download an attachment are usually downloading harmful viruses onto a computer.
“Sometimes those attachments will pretend to be a Telstra bill, and the email itself may look similar to genuine Telstra messages,” Telstra added.
The company provided a list of tips for people to protect themselves. Firstly, emails that aren’t personally addressed to people and that are instead addressed to “dear customer” are almost always a scam.
Equally, badly written emails or messages with broken sentences, spelling errors and other mistakes can point to a scam, while scam messages can also include suspicious URLs. Messages asking for credit card details, passwords and other personal information could also be a sign of a scam.
Customers who receive emails they think are dodgy should simply delete them, while scams can also be reported on the Telstra website.
It also turns out Baby Boomers are the most likely to be scammed or tricked. In its annual report, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) found that those over the age of 55 are the most susceptible when it comes to scams, in particular fake investment opportunities and online dating tricks.
Aussies reported an astonishing $340 million worth of losses to scams in 2017, which is an increase of 13 per cent on the previous year. Around $90 million of those losses were reported to the ACCC’s ScamWatch, which provides information on how to avoid these bogus schemes.