NBN scam caller "phishing" for older residents' personal information

ScamWatch warns that older Australian's are most at risk of scams.
ScamWatch warns that older Australian's are most at risk of scams.

Older residents should be cautious of a scam caller offering a government funded senior's discount on their NBN plan.

Cliff Tarrant of Wallaga Lake received a call on Friday, offering a reduced NBN plan of $49.99 per month for his home phone and internet. 

Mr Tarrant said the caller had a number of his personal details, including his full name, address and date of birth. 

It was only after the caller recontacted Mr Tarrant the next day that he began to suspect it was a scam. 

Mr Tarrant provided the caller with his bankcard details, which he has now cancelled, but the caller insisted he pay an NBN installation fee of $300...with iTunes cards.

"He told me to buy three $100 cards," Mr Tarrant said. "He told me to tell the shop staff they were for my grnandchildren."

When Mr Tarrant refused to purchase the cards, the scammer repeatedly called him to remind him to do so. 

Mr Tarrant has been on the NBN for his internet for six months. His phone was previously connected to the NBN, but he disconnected it due to poor quality.

The scammer insisted that Mr Tarrant required a fiber optic cable installation for his home phone. Only the fixed wireless service has been rolled out in the Bega Valley.

The ScamWatch website says older Australians are seen as good targets by scammers because they are generally less computer savvy and more wealthy that younger Australians. 

When a scammer cold-calls and poses as a legitimate business, it is known as "phishing". This is usually done to trick the victim into handing over personal details. 

Mr Tarrant reported the call to his phone provider. They informed him that any charge for an NBN service should go through a phone or internet service provider, not NBN Co. 

Information regarding the roll out of the NBN is publicly available. Scammers can access this data to target certain locations.

The scam caller insisted that Mr Tarrant arrange an installation in the next few days. The ScamWatch website warns that scammers often try to create a sense of urgency through short deadlines to pressure their victims. 

Likewise, the ScamWatch website warns against unusual payment methods, such as pre-loaded debit cards, gift cards, iTunes cards or virtual currency such as Bitcoin.

Mr Tarrant said the caller gave his name as Adam Parker, or Adam Barker. He has contacted NBN to report the scam. 

ScamWatch notes 2649 reports of phishing were made to the service in May 2017, totalling $37,347 in losses.

More than 11,000 reports of phishing scams have been received for 2017, with nearly $260,000 lost.

Australians over 65 years of age are the most common victims of phishing.

Report all scams to the ACCC ScamWatch service by clicking here