Tech support scam victims have bank accounts raided
Victims of the tech support scam have recently reported having their bank accounts raided with two Perth men losing $10,000 each.
The scammers gained access to one man's computer after calling him, claiming to be from Microsoft and convincing him that there was a problem that needed to be fixed. The scammers prompted the victim to inadvertently disclose sensitive personal information, allowing them to set up an internet banking account for the man who had never done his banking online.
Another man received a call from who he thought was Telstra offering to upgrade his Windows XP computer for five dollars. He allowed them access to his computer and had then logged on to his internet banking when told his accounts may have been hacked. The scammers stole $4,000 from his bank account and then a further $6,000 from his credit card when he used it to pay the five dollar fee.
Several other victims from WA's South West have reported losing money after being randomly contacted by scammers posing as technical support staff:
- A Bunbury woman lost $5,000 when she gave personal details to a scammer selling a security package for her mobile phone and computer;
- A Busselton woman had almost $1,200 stolen after a Western Union account was created using her personal details. The scammers said they were from Telstra;
- An elderly couple from Busselton had $400 stolen when the scammers set up a Paypal account using their personal information.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said these cases were an alarming escalation of a long-running scam that has caught out hundreds of innocent victims in WA.
"Losses to this scam in the past have been limited to two or three hundred dollars for most victims, but these recent raids on consumers' bank and credit card accounts involving much higher amounts is disturbing," Ms Driscoll said.
"Apart from losing their money, victims also have the added cost of having their computers checked for malware or spyware and some have had to buy new computers.
"So the message is clear, hang up on anyone who calls out of the blue claiming to be from Microsoft, Windows Support, Telstra, BigPond, Apple or any reputable company and wanting to access your computer to fix a problem. These companies will never do this, unless you contact them first.
"Never allow anyone to have remote access to your computer, unless you have initiated the contact. Your personal information is the key to unlock your financial accounts, so guard them carefully and ensure you don't become one of the many victims of this tech support scam."
Further information and advice on scams can be found on the WA ScamNet website www.scamnet.wa.gov.au. Enquiries or scam reports can be made by email firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 1300 30 40 54.
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(Consumer Protection is a division of the Department of Commerce)
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