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Telephone scams have jumped four-fold over the past 12 months, with Telstra reminding its customers to be very wary of calls pretending to be from Telstra reps offering unneeded technical support and seeking personal information.

Telstra is warning of phone based scams from people calling homes and trying to extract money to fix non-existent problems on home computers, saying they’re from Telstra and asking for remote access to the computer. 
Telstra says the people running the phone scam “appear to want our customers’ identity and in particular their personal banking details”, which somewhat mirrors many of the tech support scams where callers purport to be from Microsoft. 
Telstra’s Executive Director of Customer Advocacy, Peter Jamieson, explains that “the significant increase in attempts to deceive customers with false information over the telephone during the past 12 months is concerning for Telstra”.  
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He adds that: “The criminals operating these scams are trying to sell customers fake software updates, or trick them into disclosing their personal details over the telephone so those details can then be used illegally. 

“The increasing number of these telephone scams is concerning and customers should be alert to any attempts to trick them into disclosing their credit card or banking details over the telephone.” 
“Telstra is encouraging its customers to protect their personal information and be particularly wary of telephone calls from numbers they don’t recognise,” Mr Jamieson concluded. 
The ACCC urges consumers to report telephone scams at its SCAMwatch website or via Crime Stoppers at its website or by calling 1800 333 000. 
 
Telstra also notes that its customers can report phone scams by using its Misuse of Service Form, by calling Telstra on 132 200 or via its other online support services. 
Telstra’s tips to avoiding phone scammers include:
– If you’re not sure that the person on the other end of the phone is legitimate, hang up and call the organisation by using their official contact details. ?
–  Be wary of sharing personal, credit card or banking details over the phone, unless you’ve made the call or the phone number came from a trusted source. ?
–  Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer. ?
–  Make sure your computer is protected with regularly updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software. ?
–  If your alarm bells are ringing or you think something’s not quite right, just hang up. 
The ACCC’s SCAMWatch page has more information and advice on dealing with this threat and avoiding the scammers. 

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