Five ways to spot a scam call

Telstra's tips on how to spot a scam

Scams
SPOT A SCAM: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Photo: Shutterstock.

SPOT A SCAM: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Photo: Shutterstock.

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Every week, Telstra blocks around 1.5 million suspected scam calls.

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Every week, Telstra blocks around 1.5 million suspected scam calls, around 6.5 million per month.

It's part of their Cleaner Pipes initiative, where they are working to reduce the harm of scams, phishing, ransomware and other malware across the network.

Darren Pauli, from telecommunications company's security special projects team, said while they Telstra were doing a lot behind the scenes to block illegitimate activity, there's a lot the consumer can do to prevent being scammed.

"There are a number of ways that you can spot a scam call and keep yourself safe from scammers. Simple advice is: if you think you're receiving a scam call, hang up," Darren said.

The most common types of scams often feature an unknown number or trusted brand trying to call you repeatedly.

"This is a hallmark of a scam call. If you don't know the number, letting it go to voicemail is an option. If it's legitimate, they'll leave a message. We know that's not always realistic so if you can't screen your calls, be wary of calls from numbers you don't recognise or weren't expecting."

Darren said the most common trick people fall for is when a scammer is calling you about an opportunity or about winning a prize (especially one you don't remember entering!).

The other common tricks that scammers use are trying to impersonate Telstra.

"As a reminder, if Telstra is legitimately calling you, we will only call between 9am-8pm Monday to Friday, and 10am-3pm Saturday, wherever you are based, and not on a Sunday.

"The exception to this is if you have an unpaid account or a customer-initiated inquiry with respect to an order, fault or complaint - if so, someone from Telstra may call you outside of these hours. We will also never ask for control of your computer in an unsolicited call either."

Darren said a scammer's main objective is to try to build a sense of legitimacy to make you feel you feel comfortable handing over your financial details.

"They may also try to receive personal information about you including your personal security questions and passwords to access your online accounts and steal money or your identity," he said.

"Whatever you do, don't provide personal information or bank account information to anyone who you weren't expecting a call from or don't know - regardless of who they say they are. A healthy dose of scepticism might just save you from a scam call!"

What are the big red flags?

1. Don't be convinced if it looks like an incoming call is from a legitimate business or government organisation. Many scammers use spoofing tactics to lure you into a false sense of security.

2. Is the caller pressuring you and making it seem like the matter is urgent? Some scammers try to trick you into handing over financial information as though you have an outstanding debt and can make you feel pressured to hand over your information.

3. Take note of the time of day - is it a reasonable time for a trusted organisation to be calling you?

4. Is an unknown number or trusted brand trying to call you repeatedly?

5. The golden rule: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

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