Deceptive phone scams rife in region

Central Victorian residents have been warned of several phone scams where alleged Telstra representatives attempt to extort money from customers. 

A Bendigo man, who did not wish to be named, has told of a suspicious phone call, in which he was told to re-pay his Telstra bill.

The alleged representative said the credit card he had used to pay his monthly bill was not registered with Telstra and had not been accepted. 

However, the customer had paid his bill via direct bank debit and was aware that it had been processed just days before.

"Alarm bells started ringing when he called me on a Saturday and then told me my credit card hadn't been registered - but I hadn't even used a credit card," the customer said. 

"It just shows you have to be very wary these days."

Telstra central Victoria area general manager Steve Tinker said there was a number of different phone scams circulating that attempted to mislead customers with false information and false claims.

He said the most common phone scam involved customers who were contacted by scammers and told they needed to pay for technical support to fix a problem that didn't exist on their home computer.  

"The things the people running the phone scam appear to want are our customers’ identity and in particular their banking details," he said. 

He said most scam calls came from overseas, making it difficult to prevent.

"We are likely to see more of them in the future (so) customers need to be prepared for scam callers," he said. 

"The advice we give them is to hang up immediately if they’re not sure who is on the other end of the phone."

He also warned customers not to give an unsolicited caller remote access to their computer and to make sure their computer was updated regularly with anti-virus and anti-spyware software 

He urged people to report scam calls to the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Scamwatch page.

Customers can also report phone scams via Telstra online and the phone.

"Any attempt to deceive our customers with false information over the telephone is very concerning for Telstra," Mr Tinker said. 

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