Alarming rise in NBN scams as ‘vulnerable’ Aussies fleeced out of $500,000

The ACC has recorded an alarming increase in scams relating to the NBN this year. Source: Getty

Aussies are being ripped off more than ever with a huge amount of people handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars of hard-earned cash in cruel NBN scams.

New data released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has revealed a shock increase in money given away to devious scammers, with reported losses in 2019 already higher than the total of last year’s losses.

Consumers lost an average of more than $110,000 each month between January and May this year (with losses topping $500,000), compared with around $38,500 in monthly average losses throughout 2018 – an increase of nearly 300 per cent.

Sadly Baby Boomers were noted as the most “vulnerable” age group falling for the tricks, with ACCC Acting Chair Delia Rickard claiming those aged 65 and above are most at risk.

“People aged over 65 are particularly vulnerable, making the most reports and losing more than $330,000 this year,” she explained. “That’s more than 60 per cent of the current losses.”

Scammers have been known to trick Aussies in a range of ways, including pretending to be someone from NBN or an internet provider before claiming there’s a problem with the internet connection or gaining access to personal information by visiting their homes and claiming they will sign them up to the service.

Scammers may also call during a blackout offering you the ability to stay connected for an extra fee or pretend to be the NBN and attempt to sell the service at a discount price.

Speaking about ways to avoid falling for the cruel scams, NBN Co Chief Security Officer Darren Kane said it’s important to remember that it’s a wholesale-only company and does not sell the service directly to customers.

“We will never make unsolicited calls or door knock to sell broadband services to the public,” he explained. “People need to contact their preferred phone and internet service provider to make the switch.”

Kane added: “We will never request remote access to a resident’s computer and we will never make unsolicited requests for payment or financial information.”

Meanwhile, Rickard offered some tips to stay protected, with the first step to always ask for details if you’re unsure you are speaking to someone from the NBN. She said it’s even best to do a Google search or check the phone book to find the correct service provider’s number.

“Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer, and never give out your personal, credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know – in person or over the phone – unless you made the contact,” Rickard explained.

“It’s also important to know that NBN does not make automated calls to tell you that you will be disconnected. If you get a call like this just hang up.

“If think a scammer has gained access to your personal information, such as bank account details, contact your financial institution immediately.”

Have you received a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from the NBN? Have you ever fallen victim to a scam?

Important information: The information provided on this website is of a general nature and for information purposes only. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. It is not financial product advice and must not be relied upon as such. Before making any financial decision you should determine whether the information is appropriate in terms of your particular circumstances and seek advice from an independent licensed financial services professional.

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