Action to pull plug on Microsoft scammers welcomed
Consumer Protection is welcoming international action against phone scammers who have been posing as Microsoft workers offering “tech support” to fix computer problems remotely in exchange for a fee.
David Hillyard, Director of Consumer Protection’s WA ScamNet, praised the work of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), the US Federal Trade Commission and the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, after the three agencies collaborated and shared intelligence in order to win court orders to close down and freeze funds of the Microsoft imposters.
“The Microsoft or Windows scam has been the most reported issue to Consumer Protection’s WA ScamNet over the last three years, with more than 2000 enquiries in 2011 and 2012 and reported financial loss of more than $38,600 since 2010,” Mr Hillyard said.
“Despite numerous warnings through Consumer Protection’s scam name and shame site www.scamnet.wa.gov.au, our social media channels and in regular newspaper columns and radio segments, we have still been hearing from victims every day.
“The “tech support” scam has been operating through overseas call centres which cold call Western Australians and convince them that they are there to help when in fact they are executing a well-planned way to part innocent people from their money. Operating in the electronic world and ignoring local laws has presented particular problems in terms of tackling the problem.
“It is fantastic to hear that a multi-agency approach between Australia, America and Canada has resulted in the scammers ill-gotten gains being taken away from them.”
You can read ACMA’s media statement at www.acma.gov.au.
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Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce.
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