Telstra warns hoax emails are on the rise

Media Release, 19 July 2013

With hoax emails claiming to be from high profile brands becoming increasingly common and sophisticated, Telstra is warning Australians to be wary of the latest string of emails asking for sensitive or personal information.

Telstra’s Officer of Internet Trust and Safety, Darren Kane said Telstra has received several reports from Telstra customers concerned about these emails which in some cases requested customers to enter personal information into a malicious website.

“It’s unsettling to hear of our customers being misled in this way and we encourage customers to double check the account number on all utility bills with their existing information to ensure they’re authentic. These emails are becoming more realistic and are being sent from legitimate email addresses customers may recognise,” Mr Kane said.

The frequency of hoaxes is also growing and it’s estimated that each year billions of hoax emails are sent around the world, designed to target customers of various brands and services.

Mr Kane said hoaxes often evoke a sense of urgency to catch customers off-guard and that there were some common types of email hoaxes customers should watch out for.

“As people are increasingly managing their household bills online, scammers are catching up with this trend by creating increasingly sophisticated bills that may look the same as those issued by utility companies, but are in fact scams.

“If customers are unsure about an email they receive, purporting to be from Telstra, they can log in to My Account at and check the information in the email against the information within My Account to make sure it matches, especially the account number. Or they can bring the email in to their nearest Telstra Store.

“Another common hoax is where an email contains embedded links directing customers to a phishing website to gather personal details,” Mr Kane said.

While Telstra’s security teams are actively searching for and dealing with these hoax emails, Mr Kane said there are a few key things customers should remember if they believe they’ve received a hoax email.

If customers suspect they have received a hoax email: 

  • Do not reply to it
  • Do not open any attachment or click on any embedded links
  • Delete the email

Other steps customers can take to protect themselves include:

  • Beware of unsolicited requests for sensitive information – don't follow suspicious links from senders or sites you don't know or trust
  • If in doubt, visit trusted websites by typing the internet address (URL) into the browser address bar rather than clicking on a link embedded in an email. Save frequently used links in your favourites or bookmarks
  • Never respond to requests for personal information in an unexpected email or pop-up window. If in doubt, always contact the institution that claims to be the sender of the email or pop-up window
  • Use a spam filter to help block unsolicited and unwanted email
  • Report the email to Telstra.
  • Contact the ACCC/ Scamwatch via their website 

People can also visit Telstra's Internet and Cyber-Safety page for other tips to stay safe online – no matter what age, online interests or skill level.