As previously reported, computer takeover scams are on the rise, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Scamwatch.
Computer takeover scams, where scammers impersonate a well-known business to try to gain access to computers, have increased 184 per cent compared to the same period last year.
So far this year, scammers have stolen more than $7.2 million from Australians through this type of scam, including over $4.4m from people aged over 55.
How do computer takeover scams work?
To gain access to people’s computers, scammers call or send text messages pretending to be from a well-known organisation, such as Telstra, eBay, NBN Co, Amazon, banks, government organisations, police, and computer and IT support organisations. The scammers create a sense of urgency and ask people to download remote control software.
Once the software is downloaded and the scammer has control of the computer or device, they ask people to log into secure applications such as emails, internet banking or PayPal accounts. With access to these applications or the information they contain, scammers will try to impersonate their victims or steal their money.
What to look out for
Scams of this nature often come out of the blue. They might start with an unexpected phone call, SMS, email or pop up saying you’ve been billed for a purchase you didn’t make, your device has been compromised, or your account has been hacked. It is important not to share your details or follow the instructions of a caller you do not know or did not expect.
If you receive contact from someone claiming to be from a telecommunications company, a technical support service provider or online marketplace, hang up. If you think the communication may have been legitimate, independently source the contact details for the organisation to contact them. Don’t use the contact details in the communication. Also, don’t click on any of the links.
Remember, your bank will never ask you to give them access to your computer or accounts, nor will they ask for the codes to verify transactions. You should never provide those numbers to anyone except to verify transactions you are making in your mobile banking app or through your online banking.
What to do if you think you have been scammed
If you think you have been scammed, contact your bank or financial institution as soon as possible.
Delete any apps or programs the scammers asked you to download to your computer. Support in recovering from these scams including how to check if your identity and computer is secure is available through IDCARE on 1800 595 160.