Telephone scammers – What to do

We hear on the news frequently about one person or anther being scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars and sometimes even hundreds of thousands.

Unfortunately in my experience it’s not just in the news, it is very common in our local area, but usually lower amounts… usually three to ten thousand dollars at a time. But a little bit of community awareness, we can reduce these occurrences.

Is it a scammer?

  • If you received a “cold call”. Don’t take the bait, telephone scammers are always finding new and inventive ways to trick you into doing things that you would not normally do.

 

  • If the caller insists they are from a particular company or department, simply take a reference number, employee number, time of call, and a name. You may then look up the department, or company’s number in the local phone directory, or Google it, this is the only way to be sure you are actually speaking to said company or department. Better still, visit the department or company in person.

 

  • If you feel like your being groomed… well that because you probably are, the average scammer is prepared to spend hours, days and weeks to achieve their end goal of parting you with your hard earned money. Just hang up the phone and tell them you are reporting them to scamwatch (and report them). They will often still call back, multiple time, so be persistent, they do give up eventually.

 

  • Except for extremely unlikely and rare cases, these are professional scammers and fraudsters, NOT hackers… if you don’t let them into your computer…. they simply can’t get in! They can however, and often do use tricks to make you think they accessed your computer or bank records. They have no access UNTIL YOU GIVE THEM ACCESS…so don’t! As a generalization… it is not normal practice for company’s or departments to cold call people and ask them to log onto their computer.

 

  • If your sick, or tired, it’s a bad time to do business of take confusing phone calls any way. Take some details, hang up the phone, and get a family member or friend to call them back. Scammers rely on normal sane people to be having a bad day and catch them off guard, and then use fear to string them along once they regain their senses.

Ok, so you took the bait. what can you do now?

  1. Report it:   https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam . This is fraud, it is illegal and our government is there to protect us.
  2. Contact your bank and ask them what to do.  Each bank will have a standard operational procedure with trained staff to deal with his epidemic.  Remember… if you “Did not authorized” the transaction… it is often possible to get the money back if you act fast.. but not in all cases.
  3. Change all your passwords, yes all of them, especially your email password (do it first).  The longer the hacker has access to your email password, the more damage they can do.
  4. Do the right thing – Swallow your pride and alert your friends that you were hacked (you are the victim remember, don’t be ashamed, some of the world’s smarted people have fallen victim to this also)
  5. Hope for the best, remembering the quicker you take action the better off you will be and will limit the damage caused by the scammers.

-Jon Cavell – Warragul Computer Repair