$150,000 lost to tech support scam

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WA scam victims lost a total of $150,000 last financial year in the tech support scam, the amount of losses more than tripling in 12 months.


The alarming figures released by WA ScamNet show the number of victims reporting a loss has also tripled, but over a two year period.



Scam victims

Total losses











Victims receive a call from someone claiming to be a tech support officer for well-known companies such as Microsoft, Windows, Apple or Telstra/Bigpond; saying there is a fault with their computer and asking to gain remote access to fix the problem.


Once the scammers gain access, they charge a fee for their unnecessary services and then, in some cases, they ask the victim to log on to their internet banking account. Later the victims discover that large amounts of money have been syphoned from their accounts with some victims losing as much as $10,000 each.


Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said the dramatic increase in losses reported by victims is a reflection of the escalation of the scam to also involve the hacking of bank accounts.


“To allow remote access to your computer to a stranger who calls out of the blue is extremely dangerous, as it exposes your personal and financial information and leaves you vulnerable to theft,” Ms Driscoll said.


“A tech support officer from these companies will never contact you unless you have contacted them first. There is no way of them knowing that there is a fault in your computer, so under no circumstances allow these criminals to gain access. Just hang up on them.


“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.


“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 growing numbers of victims of this tech support scam.


“Consumers who have had their bank accounts hacked by criminals should contact their bank immediately and discuss the possibility of having the stolen funds reimbursed. Consumer Protection may also be able to assist in this process.”


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 wascamnet@commerce.wa.gov.au or by phone 1300 30 40 54.



Media contact (Consumer Protection)

Consumer Protection
Media release
24 Jul 2014

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