The Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy was today forced to issue a warning after a significant increase in scam telephone calls from 200 to 2,000 a month.
“People can protect themselves from scams by applying common sense rules. If something being offered sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Senator Conroy said.
In recent months complaints about scam phone calls to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have increased significantly from 200 per month to around 2,000.
Senator Conroy said the ACCC and the ACMA were warning consumers about scam telephone calls where callers:
advise that the person’s computer is infected with a virus and request credit card details to fix the problem
offer products, services or cash under fake government grants
seek bank details in order to process a bank fee refund or tax refund
offer to place the person’s number on the Do Not Call Register for a fee
ask consumers, using a recorded message, to dial 9 for a ‘free’ holiday.
“I am particularly concerned that some scammers are targeting the Do Not Call Register and suggesting consumers pay a fee to register their number. I would like to remind consumers that they can quickly and easily register their numbers on the Do Not Call Register for free,” Senator Conroy said.
“People can register their phone or fax numbers on the Do Not Call Register, provided the numbers are used primarily for private or domestic purposes, online at www.donotcall.gov.au or by calling 1300 792 958.
“If people are targeted by a scam telephone call they should never disclose any personal or financial details and they should immediately hang up the phone.
“I would also encourage people to report the scam so that the ACCC and ACMA can investigate and take action against those responsible.”
Information on how to report scams is available from www.scamwatch.gov.au.