Telstra issues warning on scams

Telstra is reminding people to be to be vigilant against scammers who try to obtain their personal information via telephone and online, as it seeks to emphasise the message of National Consumer Fraud Week.

Figures released today by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) show the number of scams continues to rise in Australia, with telephone calls the most common scam in Australia in 2013, increasing by 13 per cent to 39,921.

Among the most prominent telephone scams reported are fake call centre operators impersonating as technical staff from different organisations, including Telstra.

During the same period, the ACCC received nearly 37,000 reports about online scams involving internet and email, representing increases of almost 47 per cent and 14 per cent respectively.

The combined financial losses of Australians involved in telephone and online scams this past year was more than $71 million.

Telstra area general manager Guy Champion said the ACCC's figures were a timely reminder that personal information was a valuable asset and there were criminals who would go to great lengths to get access to it.

"The criminals operating these scams have only one thing in mind and that is to try and trick consumers into disclosing their personal details so those details can then be used illegally," he said.

"The increasing number of these type of scams is concerning and consumers should be alert to any attempts to trick them into disclosing their credit card or banking details over the telephone, via email or the internet.

"Telstra is encouraging consumers to protect their personal information and be particularly wary of telephone calls from numbers they don't recognise, or emails sent from companies and addresses that aren't familiar."

To report a scam contact the ACCC by calling 1300 795 995 or visit the SCAMwatch website at www.scamwatch.gov.au .

The West Australian

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