iStockphoto.com/© Rich Seymour

Don’t be a soft phone target

JUST hang up.

That's the advice police are giving anyone who receives an unsolicited phone call from Microsoft or Telstra.

Why? Because it's more than likely the caller isn't who they say they are.

In the past week Buderim home-based worker Bruce McKenzie said he had answered three calls claiming to be from Microsoft.

"They sound like they're from a call centre. Some people might actually think they're genuine when they're not," Mr McKenzie said.

"They say they're from Microsoft and that they have received an error message in regards to your Windows settings."

Fortunately, Mr McKenzie cottoned onto the scam rather quickly due to the fact he was an Apple computer man.

However, he worried there would be people who would fall for it.

"I told them I don't have a Windows computer and they just hung up," he said.

Detective Superintendent Brian Hay, who is in charge of fraud and cyber crime for Queensland Police, said on average the people who did fall for these crimes lost between $250 and $650.

"They convince people that their computer is out of warranty and charge a fee to fix it," Det Sgt Hay said. "The bottom line is if you receive an unsolicited call from Microsoft or Telstra, hang up."

Det Sgt Hay said scammers were currently targeting 23 million Australians with these types of crimes. "Thousands of Queenslanders have been hit by this," he said.

While Det Sgt Hay felt the amount of people who had fallen for cyber crimes had lessened, he urged everyone to be cynical when it came to dealings over the phone and online.

"These crooks are clever. A lot of people are still getting into the internet. Even though it's been going on a few years those new to the internet still wouldn't be fully aware of it," he said.

"I'd suggest they're (scammers) not getting as much money as they once did but in reality it is still working otherwise they wouldn't be still doing it."

Warning signs

  • If callers who identify themselves as Microsoft or Telstra staff which you didn't ask to hear from.
  • If told something wrong with your computer and you'll need to pay to fix it.
  • If told you'll need to provide access to your computer.
  • If asked for bank or credit card details.

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