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Scammers ramp up the con with automated phone calls

The Telstra tech support phone scam just found a neat new way to ensnare victims: automated calls.

“Hello, this is Telstra tech support. I’m calling about your internet connection,” they used to begin, a warning sign that you should either hang up, or have a little fun with the criminal on the end of the call.

Many of us have been rightly sceptical, and have been toying with the criminals, handing the phone to our kids, our dogs, and possibly just letting the call go on a little too long while we have some fun at the criminal’s expense.

But not everyone is clued in to the whole Telstra call scam, and some will actually fall for it.

No, Telstra is not calling about your internet connection, and by following their directions, you may end up giving yourself some unneeded frustration while falling into a money making trap.

We’d hope most people would know about these scams, but not all do, and there’s now a further catch, with a new variation going around: instead of having the so-called Telstra technician calling you, instead you may find an automated calling system doing it, asking you to press a number on your phone to stop the disconnection of your Telstra line.

“This is a message from Telstra tech support, calling you inform you that your Telstra internet service is to be disconnected,” the recording might say. “Press one to talk to someone, or press two to have your line disconnected.”

But just like the fake Telstra tech support calling you during dinner, this one is fake, too, something Telstra confirmed to Pickr, with a representative for the company adding that this automated message isn’t part of something Telstra presently does.

Telstra did tell Pickr that “if you receive a phone call out of the blue from someone claiming to be a representative of Telstra and their call relates to a problem with your internet connection, just hang up”.

While we’ve not seen this variation of the Telstra tech support scam (and neither had Telstra, for that matter), our guess is that this is an automated approach to ensnaring victims, with the logic being that if you press one of the digits, you’ll have someone from the other end pick up the call and try to catch you. Until you press the phone digit, the scam is fairly passive, and could be run fairly cheaply with an automated call centre.

That means like most scams, the best solution is that if someone calls from Telstra, hang up and dial Telstra’s number on 13 22 00 to see if they’re the real deal, checking with Telstra on a phone call you’ve made, not through the phone call you’ve received.

This isn’t the first time we’re going to see a Telstra scam, and it’s certainly not the last, so if you think you might be targeted, check with Telstra and then make a report of the scam to the ACCC on the SCAMwatch website.

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