Telstra customers were hit last week by a scam that meant 22,000 of them were sent fake bills stating that they had overpaid. In the email they received was a link which they were instructed to use in order to get a refund. Copies of the emails have alarmed Telstra with just how similar their format and layout looks to the original versions which the company actually sends to its customers. Telstra National Security advisor Rachael Falk said, “Criminals are out in force, customers need to be on high alert for these online scams.”
If you or anyone you know uses Telstra then make sure they are aware this is happening at the moment. A useful tip is that the fake emails can be distinguished by the absence of a ‘$’ sign to indicate the amount of money they have supposedly paid twice and is available for a refund via the scam email link.
Rachael Falk continued to comment that, “These emails look very authentic, often including logos and slogans to trick you into opening them.”
“They often contain a link or an attachment which is designed to entice you into clicking on it. If Telstra customers receive either of these phishing emails we advise them not to click on the links or attachments and immediately delete the email from their email account.”
If you are still unsure about the email you have received, another way to spot one of the scam emails is if it starts with “Hi, dear customer.”
The reason scammers attach links and attachments to their phishing email is because it entices the victim to click on it and begin the downloading process of malicious software. If you unknowingly do this, the software can then attack and monitor your computer and steal personal financial information from you without you even noticing.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is urging the community to think twice when receiving an non-routine email. If grammar is incorrect this is the first sign of suspicious activity, whilst an email with an unrecognisable sender can also help you spot a bogus request.
The ACCC reported that already within 2015 there has been over $45 million lost to scams and that they have received over 45,000 complaints from individuals who have lost money.
The ACCC Scamwatch website gives very useful advice into what you can do to prevent being caught out by a fraudulent means of communication from a scammer. Their words of advice for all customers whether you happen to be a Telstra customer or not is:
- Always keep your computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software and a good firewall.
- Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone or via email unless you made the call and the phone number came from a reputable source.
- If you believe your computer security has been compromised, use your security software to run a virus check. If this doesn’t suffice, contact your software provider or a computer specialist for a second opinion.
- If under any circumstances you believe you have provided your account details to a scammer, contact your financial institution or bank as soon as possible to notify them.