Consumer Protection has warned West Australians about an alarming escalation in a scam involving fake technology support officers.
The fraudulent IT experts, who claim to work for major companies such as Microsoft, Apple or Telstra, tell their victims they need remote access to fix a computer fault.
Once they gain access, they often ask the victim to log in to their internet banking account, allowing them to steal thousands of dollars.
The criminals then charge a fee for their “services.”
The amount of money stolen from West Australians has more than tripled over the past year.
In the 2012-13 financial year, 67 people fell victim to the scam, losing a total of $44,000.
In 2013-14, those numbers jumped to 126 victims and $154,000.
Consumer Protection Commissioner Anne Driscoll said no one should be granted remote access to a computer unless the owner initiated the contact.
“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,” she 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.”
She said victims of the scam should contact their bank and Consumer Protection to discuss the possibility of reimbursement.
For information, visit www.scamnet.wa.gov.au or call 1300 304 054.