Hi, just checking if Telstra has called you lately? They wanted to see how your connection is going, if your computer is a bit slow lately maybe.
Telstra call me, you mght be thinking, Fat Chance. In fact, you normally have to call THEIR hotline, wait 40 minutes on hold then if you get lucky, you get an Aussie call centre, not the Outsourced Overseas Somewhere one. Hopefully you speak with an operator who can getwhat you mean… eventually. But even if you get someone good on, you could be told that that department is the wrong one and be put on hold with irritating music, get transferred to someone new… who asks you to repeat your account details even though you put them in the keypad when you first dialed up!
So um… has Telstra has called you lately?
NO! Telstra probably won’t ever call you. Neither will Optus. Or Microsoft. Or Apple or NBN…
The chance of Microsoft or IBM calling you is pretty much zero.
Although, the internet was cutting out yesterday, and oh, the bill is due… surely not overdue, normally you check but last bill paying day you had an appointment and now Telstra is calling, Big Pond, how else would they know that you have Big Pond…it’s not the bill surely, they want to know if the internet is working.. but dinner is on the stove so you give the phone to your husband or wife… “Talk to Telstra, will ya? I’ve gotta finish something here.” Your spouse sighs but dutifully takes the phone, “yeah, the Internet… It keeps cutting out. The whole street, is it? Are you coming out to fix it?” You return to the stove, turn down the potatoes before they boil out, and get some herbs from the garden.
When you come back in, your glance over to the lounge room and see your spouse still on the phone to Telstra… but doing something on the computer. The guy from Telstra is telling your husband to click something to do with “remote access.” You hover in the background, wondering what your husband is doing getting out his wallet and now his credit card.
“Oh, they fixed the problem, the Internet is all good now, ” he tells you.
“What did they charge you for though?” you ask. “How much was that?”
“$249, I think. He tested our computer too,” says hubby, returning his wallet to his pocket. “Is dinner ready?”
You are furious but it’s Friday, you don’t want to start the weekend with a fight. How could he just fork out pretty much two hundred and fifty bucks just like that.. for something no one knows what it’s for.
Your husband bites back. “You handed them over to me, I had no idea what they were on about, I thought you knew, the guy’s name was Peter.”
Hurriedly, you turn on the computer, hubby had already shut it down, nothing suspicious had been on his radar… but you think it’s funny they charged him for getting the Internet working if the whole street had a problem and they were coming out anyway. You could call Telstra and ask if a Peter works there.. but of course there’s a bloomin’ Peter working there, probably 249 of them… You call the bank instead and find out “Peter” has not charged your dearest husband $249 for fixing the internet but $3949, they tried 4k neat but there wasn’t enough money on that card to get the full neat 4000. So they went for 3949… Luckily the bank might be able to reverse the transaction.
But they recommend getting the computer checked in case “Peter” has installed any tracking software that could allow him access to your banking passwords or private files and accounts.
*Saunders IT can check your computer if you ever get caught off guard by a scammer. We will respect your privacy. We also like Telstra and have used their name in the above very real story for example purposes only. You can swap their name for Optus, NBN, or whatever providers you use.
These scammers can be very convincing.
How do you know if it is a genuine call?
Telemarketing companies are governed by laws that require them to provide certain information to introduce themselves at the start of the call. “Good evening, this is Jane calling from Roy Morgan research here and we are conducting a survey on behalf of…” (a bank/ RACQ / the Australian Electoral Commission etc). You can look up ACMA telemarketing rules here.
If you agree to the survey, the questions you’ll answer usually involve a 1-10 scale or “very satisfied” or “somewhat dissatisfied” kind of response.
Even when a charity calls to ask for donations or a travel company offers a special price for a hotel on the coast, they are required to introduce themselves and their company in their opening spiel. Even if they ask for credit card numbers if you agree to a sale, you will receive a receipt number and a telephone number in case you want to follow up.
How to handle calls you think are scam artists?
- Never give out any personal information or payment info, If Telstra or Optus wanted to bill you, they have your address to send the bill.
- Simply hang up.
(note some people have tried this, particularly older people and the fake caller telephones back and may swear or be aggressive)
- Say “I have no account with Telstra/Optus/IBM and don’t have an energy bill as I use solar and I don’t have a computer” even if it is not true.
- “Wrong number, don’t call again” and be very firm and hang up, keep that phone off the hook for awhile. Get your children or grandchildren or neighbour to be rude for you if you find it difficult.
- Report scams at Scam Watch.
If anyone gets aggressive, remember, it is very unlikely they are likely to or in proximity to physically harm you and are just employing this tactic because they want to scare you into giving them access to your money.