This Smartphone Scam Is Making the Rounds in Australia

This Smartphone Scam Is Making the Rounds in Australia

Scams are about as inevitable as death and taxes at this point, and another one is making the rounds in Australia, this time it’s targeting smartphone users. 

There is a scam going around, where scammers are convincing people to download software or an app over the phone that infects their devices and potentially drains their bank accounts.

According to the ACCC, people may receive a phone call out of the blue informing them of an issue with their account, phone, or computer.

The scammer will then ask them to download software or an app, giving them control of your device. 

They may even ask people to read out banking details or passwords, which is a big no-no. 

Consumers are being warned to beware of anyone instructing them to download software or an app over the phone, following a recent rise in reported losses to remote access scams.

Australians reported losing $15.5 million to remote access scams in 2023.

Reported losses to remote access scams in the first quarter of 2024 increased by 52 per cent compared to the previous quarter. 

The average loss per scam victim increased by 57 per cent to $17,943 in the first quarter of this year, compared to the last quarter of 2023.  This trend, identified by the National Anti-Scam Centre, contrasts with most other scam types which have seen reported losses decrease over this time.

Australians over the age of 65 are suffering the largest losses.

“We are very concerned scammers are draining entire bank accounts, with average losses to remote access scams now in the tens of thousands,” ACCC Deputy Chair Catriona Lowe said.

“Financial criminals use sophisticated emails, web-based pop-up messages and phone calls to impersonate well-known companies such as Microsoft to deceive people into thinking there is a problem with their account, computer or phone that needs fixing.”

“The scammer will sound professional and offer to help resolve the problem, by instructing the victim to download well-known screen-sharing software such as AnyDesk, Zoho or Teamviewer. Unfortunately, by doing so, the scammer can gain access to their bank accounts,” Ms Lowe said.

Remember everyone, if someone is asking you to download software or an app over the phone don’t provide any personal information. 

Just hang up the phone and go about your business. 

Or be like me and don’t answer phone calls from someone who isn’t in your contacts, if it’s a real person they’ll leave a voicemail or call back immediately. 

Stay safe out there, people.

Image: USA Network

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