Scammmers are impersonating well-known businesses or the police to steal from people by accessing their computers.
The ACCC’s Scamwatch website has recorded a significant spike in these types of scams, known as remote access scams, with more than 8000 reports recorded in 2018 so far and losses totalling $4.4 million.
“The spike in remote access scams is very concerning; losses so far in 2018 have already surpassed those for the whole of 2017, and sadly it is older Australians that are losing the most money,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said.
Telstra, NBN, Microsoft and the police have all been impersonated so far, and it’s warned scammers will spin a very believable story to gain access to their victim’s computers.
“The scammers are becoming more sophisticated. The old trick scammers used to use was to call people and say there was a virus on their computer that needed fixing but, in a new twist, scammers are now telling people they need their help to catch hackers,” Ms Rickard said.
These types of scam can be very scary, as scammers can become threatening and aggressive if they sense they are ‘losing’ the victim, or starting to cotton on. This is particularly frightening for older people who may not be as tech savvy.
“It’s vital that people remember they should never, ever, give an unsolicited caller access to your computer, and under no circumstances offer your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone,” Ms Rickard.
“If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your computer and remote access is requested, it’s a scam 100 per cent of the time. Just hang up.”
For more advice on how to avoid or report scams, visit Scamwatch.