The spread of the NBN is producing a dark side – the spread of NBN scams.
Reported losses from NBN scams in 2019 are already higher than all of last year, according to Australia’s consumer watchdog, the ACCC.
In some common scams, fraudsters will pretend to be from NBN Co so they can:
- Pretend to sign up victims to the NBN
- Pretend to sell NBN services or equipment
- Request remote access to a victim’s computer to fix an alleged problem
This gives the fraudsters the chance to steal money and gain access to valuable personal information, such as names, addresses, Medicare numbers and banking details.
Another scam involves fraudsters calling during a blackout and offering victims the chance to stay connected to the NBN for an extra fee.
NBN Co is a wholesale-only company and does not sell services directly to consumers.
How to protect yourself from scams
The ACCC has this advice for Australians:
- If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from NBN Co, ask for their details, hang up and call your service provider to check if they are who they say they are
- Find your provider’s phone number yourself – don’t use contact details provided by the alleged NBN Co employee (as it might be the number for a fake call centre)
- Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer
- Never give out your personal, credit card or online account details to anyone you don’t know, unless you initiated contact
“It’s also important to know that NBN does not make automated calls to tell you that you will be disconnected. If you get a call like this just hang up,” the ACCC says.
“If you think a scammer has gained access to your personal information, such as bank account details, contact your financial institution immediately.”
Message from NBN Co
“We will never make unsolicited calls or door knock to sell broadband services to the public. People need to contact their preferred phone and internet service provider to make the switch. We will never request remote access to a resident’s computer and we will never make unsolicited requests for payment or financial information.”
Criminals also running credit card scams
The ACCC’s Scamwatch website outlines other common scams for Australians to watch out for, including ‘overpayment’ scams.
Overpayment scams may occur when someone tries to sell something online or through classifieds ads:
- The scammer contacts the seller and agrees to buy the item, often for a generous price
- The scammer pays with credit card or cheque – but ‘accidentally’ overpays
- The scammer asks for the overpayment to be refunded
- The seller then discovers that they’d been paid with a fake credit card, stolen credit card or bounced cheque