Your Life Choices and Telstra websites

Fake Emails

According to the latest Kaspersky Lab statistics, 73.3 per cent of emails sent worldwide are spam. The vast majority of these spam emails are created to scam you of your hard-earned money.

Scammers are becoming more cunning than ever before with how they create scams and the words that they use in those emails. While emails from the prince of Nigeria asking you to help transfer some money in exchange for a percentage for your troubles have fallen off significantly, local and online service scams are rising.

Anyone using an email address ending with .au is being targeted at a more specific level than someone using a .com email address. This is because the scammer knows your email address relates to a person living in Australia.

Be on the lookout for emails from Telecommunication companies (Optus/Telstra etc), banking institutions (Westpac, Commonwealth Bank etc), online payment services (Paypal, Western Union), mail companies (Fed EX or Aus Post) and the Australian Tax Office (ATO).

Before opening an attachment or clicking through to a website, be sure that you are expecting an email, including the information, from the company. The trick I find most useful in determining whether an email is a scam is to scroll my mouse over the linked information in the email. By doing this, a display of the website url you’d be taken to will be shown. This will allow you to make an educated decision (if the link is going to then you know it is a real email).
Another trick is to also check the email address from which you received the email. If it looks dodgy or untypical of that organisation, it’s most likely unsafe.
As with anything in life, if an offer sounds too good to be true, it generally is. Never click a link that you aren’t expecting.

Scam phone calls

SCAMwatch and Telstra are warning consumers to hang up the phone if they receive a call out of the blue from someone claiming to represent Telstra and saying that there is a problem with their internet connection or computer.

Recent months have seen a surge in reports of scammers calling people at home and raising a false alarm that they are at risk of their internet being disconnected immediately, as their computer has been hacked or infected with malware and is threatening Telstra’s internet infrastructure. The caller claims that they are able to fix the problem on the spot, however a fee for this service will need to be paid and the person will also need to download software that will allow the caller remote access to their computer.

If you provide your credit card details and give remote access to your computer, the scammer may not only take more than the stated ‘fee’, but also infect your computer to gain access to your personal information and commit other acts of fraud.

A Police Officer from Victoria has also advised the following: “ Got a call last night from an individual identifying himself as an Telstra Service technician who was conducting a test on our telephone lines. He stated that to complete the test I should touch nine (9),zero ( 0), hash (#) and then hang up. Luckily, I was suspicious and refused.

Upon contacting the telephone company, I was informed that by pushing 90#, you give the requesting individual full access to your telephone line, which allows them to place long distance telephone calls billed to your home phone number. Do not press 90# for anyone.”

You can report scams to the ACCC via the SCAMwatch report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.