Ballarat East woman scammed of nearly $10,000

The scammers pretended to be from Telstra.
The scammers pretended to be from Telstra.

UPDATE:

A Ballarat East woman has been the latest to fall foul of Telco scams with thieves pocketing almost $10,000 from the unsuspecting computer user.

The woman, 68, who does not want to be identified, had two payments taken from her mother’s bank account which was connected to her own.

The victim received a call about 10am on Thursday from a man claiming to be from Telstra Technical Support.

He told her she had been scammed through her computer.

She was then instructed to turn off any iPhones, iPads and the printer.

“He went on and on, you’ve gotta do this and you’ve gotta do that,” she said.

The fake technician then said to the victim his supervisor, who he called Sharon, would continue talking to her.

“Oh, she was a doozy,” the victim said.

She also said Sharon was very effective at relating to her on a personal level  and had a convincing backstory.

“She was doing university and was working for Telstra part-time,” the victim said.

“She said, ‘You’ve got the same birth date as my mother, can I call you mummy?’ ”

Eventually the scammers told the victim she would be receiving a code from the bank on her mobile phone and to tell them it.

“They got about $4,900 the first time. And $5,000 the second time,” she said.

“It came out of my mother’s account. They got all our accounts.

“We didn’t have much in our accounts, but mum kept a bit more in her pension account and that’s what they took out of it.”

The fallout from the scam has left the victim unable to use any bank accounts for their protection.

“Everything’s locked down,” she said.

“We can’t touch any of our accounts, so we’re getting new credit cards sent.

“Luckily I had a bit of cash, so we’ve been fine.”

The victim said the scam came at a vulnerable time but was amazed at how she fell into their trap.

“I just wasn’t concentrating and I’m over tired and stressed to the max and yeah, they caught me at a very vulnerable time and I’ve learned a hard lesson,” she said.

“They had me going, truly going. I was just unbelievably sucked in and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

“It still distresses me.”

Consumer Affairs Victoria media advisor Max Bennett said watchdog had received many scam reports in the past financial year and to not trust callers asking for computer access.

“We received 1244 contacts relating to scams in 2016-17,” he said.

“If you get a call out of the blue from someone saying they need to access your computer to repair it, hang up – it may be a scam.

“Get a professional to check your computer if you think it needs repairing.”

EARLIER:

A Sebastopol man has fallen victim to a scam after receiving a phone call from people claiming to be from Telstra Technical Support.

Chris Davis, 66, received the call after 5pm on Monday from the scammers who claimed his computer had been accessed by hackers to gain access to Telstra systems.

The scammers requested access to Mr Davis’ computer to trace the hackers.

They convinced Mr Davis to download a legitimate remote desktop control application and enter specific codes to authorise the connection between them.

Once the connection was established an animation of the world map which zoomed into the supposed location of the hacker revealing a photo of them was played on Mr Davis’ computer.

“They really painted a picture,” Mr Davis said.

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The scammers then spent two hours browsing and tinkering with Mr Davis’ computer until they requested the name of his bank which immediately caused suspicion.

“[Alarm] bells are starting to ring,” he said.

“I said, ‘I’m not gonna tell you that’.

“And they said, ‘If you don’t, the hackers will start deleting your files.’ ”

The scammers then deleted about a third of the files on Mr Davis’ desktop.

“It was amazing, it came up and they deleted it,” he said.

“It was like something you see in a movie.

“I grabbed a memory stick and plugged it in to try and save some of it.”

The scammers also sent an email with a genuine-looking Telstra letterhead in an attempt to cause Mr Davis to reconsider their legitimacy.

Shortly afterwards, Mr Davis ended the phone call and uninstalled the software but not before the scammers deleted some applications, photographs and other files, although no money was lost.

Mr Davis said he’s normally aware of the capabilities scammers can use but unfortunately had a lapse of judgment.

“This time I just dropped my guard because I thought, ‘I’ve been getting a few errors’ and I thought, ‘Well maybe they do know what they’re talking about’,” he said.

Mr Davis has contacted police and his internet providers about the incident.

Another scam circulating is an email for a “parking ticket notice” claiming to be from the City of Melbourne.

The email appears convincing at first glance but contains grammatical errors which can be a trait of letter scams.

Scamwatch recommends contacting the legitimate organisation if a suspicious email is received without clicking any links therein.

Scams in Australia have caused a loss of over $72 million in nearly 140,000 incidents so far in this year alone, according to Scamwatch.