Offshore call centre caught selling your private details

If you’re a customer of Optus, Telstra or Vodafone, then it turns out your personal details could be being sold

If you’re a customer of Optus, Telstra or Vodafone, then it turns out your personal details could be being sold by insiders at offshore call centres.

A special investigation by Fairfax Media has revealed that a security firm in Mumbai is selling private information of Australian telco customers for hundreds of dollars.

But if you’re a “VIP, politician, police or celebrity” then your personal information is worth even more.

So, what information is being sold?

Well, the Brisbane Times reports that AI Solutions is selling home addresses for $350 or a full extract including your date of birth, other phone numbers, billing statements and call history for $1000.

The good news is that if your information is sold illegally, the content of your messages or what was said in your phone calls can’t be accessed.

But, the information does include who you called and where you made the call.

There are fears the information could be used by marketing firms, criminals who want to commit identity fraud or private investigators.

You might be wondering h0w this information came to light?

Well, Fairfax Media uncovered a couple of pieces of evidence in their investigation, including communication between a AI Solutions and a Melbourne intelligence and security company.

AI Solutions boasted it had a “long list” of Australian clients who bought personal details from offshore call centres.

There was also a text message from an Indian representative of AI Solutions to a prospective client.

“There are … 3 major telecom numbers details I can provide you. Telstra, Vodafone and Optus,” the text message read.

According to the investigation, AI solutions isn’t the only company reportedly selling your personal information.

Security industry sources have been quoted by Fairfax as describing the practice as “long-standing”.

So, what do Optus, Telstra and Vodafone have to say about this?

Well, Optus has referred the matter to the Australian Federal Police.

“Optus is aware that a third party has attempted to infiltrate our call centres seeking access to customer data,” a spokesman told Fairfax.

Telstra is encouraging customers who think their privacy has been breached to contact them so they could refer it to the police.

In a statement the company revealed it was “aware this type of sophisticated criminal activity does take place from time to time across most industries and we do everything we can to protect our customers’ data”.

Vodafone also issued a statement, stating it was “aware there are individuals who do attempt to illegally access data through various channels from companies and organisations which hold customer information”.

“We would urge anyone who may have information about potential privacy breaches to report it to us for investigation and referral to authorities,” the company’s statement said.

Does this make you angry? Are you concerned about company’s using overseas call centres?


  1. We need to call these companies as a customer and make them aware that if they put our personal details at risk we will take legal action against them for damages as they are in breach of contract regarding their privacy statements. If enough of us do it hopefully they will return the work back onshore here in Australia. Better still maybe put it in writing to them so there is a record. State that you do not give them or their agents permission to use your personal details for any other purpose and they are not to be made available to any other 3rd party, doing so you will hold them responsible for any breach and incur any damage cause due to their negligence.

  2. R. Robinson  

    How can we customers track and isolate PROOF of our info – being sold / bought and used – when we are bombarded with uninvited material , daily ???? The whole “Internet Industry” is Corrupt !!!!!

  3. Marion Wilson  

    Does this surprise you? Corporations are only interested in money and information about people is tradeable. Our politicians are only interested in getting money from corporations so they are not going to make laws that protect people from corporations. Is NLP still getting tobacco money? Listen to the politicians words and actions – the economy is more important than education, health, global warming, pollution, abused children, employment, wildlife, overfishing, homelessness, domestic violence and on and on. The economy is the vague description of faceless profiteers who sell us to the highest bidder..

  4. Jonathon  

    Just yet another reason why Austn Companies’, Banks’, Airlines’ et al, should NOT be having their ‘Call Centres’ placed offshore!

    Employ Australians’, in Australia, no matter the cost!
    That way, there’s a good chance our PRIVATE information will remain so!

    I’m sick of ‘phoning the ANZ Bank, & speaking to an Indian in Mumbai!
    Phone Telstra, & one speaks to a Filipino in Manila!

    Not only is there a language problem in not being able to understand what they say, they can’t understand us!
    So it’s a vicious circle where nothing’s achieved!

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