How do I protect myself against phone & SMS scams?

SMS and call scams can be reported to the ACCC on 1300 795 995 or on Scamwatch.

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    As mobiles and tablets are becoming our first choice to access the internet, cyber-crime groups are using scam calls and SMS scams to defraud you or trick you into disclosing personal information.

    Is Telstra really contacting you?

    Companies or individuals sometimes contact our customers claiming to be from Telstra when they’re not. If you’re suspicious about a call, you should verify who is calling (PDF, 188KB).

    At Telstra, we often call our customers to review their accounts, inform them about new products and services, or let them know if their account is overdue.

    Unfortunately, companies or individuals sometimes call our customers claiming to be from Telstra when they’re not. They may try to switch you to another phone company, or in some cases, attempt to obtain personal information so they can access bank accounts.

    These people may quote fake Telstra employee numbers (ID) or customer account numbers, or describe themselves as ‘Telstra technicians’. They may say there’s a fault with your computer and that you need to pay for technical support or software, or that your internet will soon be disconnected unless you give them remote access to your computer.

    What you need to remember is this: that’s not our style. As a valued customer, we’ll always notify you in writing about any technical fault that requires your attention, or if there’s a scheduled service interruption in your area. Most importantly, never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer, and make sure it’s protected with up-to-date anti-virus and anti-spyware software.

    How to verify if we’re calling

    What genuine Telstra callers will always do:

    • If we’re calling about a new offer and you’re not comfortable at any stage, we’ll respect your wishes and terminate the call
    • We’ll only call you for marketing reasons between 9am–8pm Monday to Friday, and 10am–3pm Saturday. We may call you outside these hours if you have an unpaid account
    • If we miss you, we’ll wait a few hours before calling you again

    What genuine Telstra callers will never do: 

    • We’ll never phone and ask for information like your bank or credit card details, unless it relates to an existing account requiring payment
    • We won’t call you repeatedly about the same offer if you’ve said no
    • We’ll never engage in high pressure sales tactics, create uncertainty or unnecessary dilemmas about your services or personal information

    If you’ve received a suspicious call, end the conversation immediately. You can report a scam to us online. If you’d like more information, or would like to report a fraudulent call, please contact us.

    Frequently asked questions

    The trained staff in our specialist centre can help you handle unwanted and unwelcome phone calls, provide basic advice, positive actions plans, and even help talk to the police about call tracing. Learn more about manage unwelcome calls.

    You can also use call barring to stop:

    • All incoming calls
    • All incoming calls when you’re roaming overseas
    • Outgoing international calls; or
    • Outgoing calls, except to Australia, when you’re roaming overseas

    If you'd like to lodge a nuisance call complaint, you can report unwelcome calls. Rather speak to us over the phone?  Contact us to discuss your situation.

    If you've received a life threatening call, contact the police on Emergency Triple Zero (000).

    To stop unsolicited telemarketing calls reaching your fixed or mobile phone number, you can add yourself to the Do Not Call Register It's free and easy to join.

    • Calls from people who say they’re from well-known government departments and private companies
    • Callers warning that your computer is infected with a virus and requesting credit card details to fix it. These callers may also download and install remote access software on your computer, to try and extract personal or business information
    • Calls seeking bank details in order to process a bank fee refund or tax refund
    • Calls offering to put your number on the Do Not Call Register for a fee. Registration on the Do Not Call Register is free and can be organised online
    • Texts promising unexpected prizes that require you to send money to claim them
    • Mysterious text messages that can cost you a lot of money if you reply to them

    Examples of phone scams:

    Missed call scams work by making a very short call to your mobile phone number so you don’t have time to pick it up – then you see a missed call number. The warning signs:

    • You don't recognise the phone number
    • The phone number starts with 190, which is a premium rate service
    • The number starts with an international country code other than +61 (Australia)
    • If you return the missed call, a recorded service advises you to call a 190 number

    If you notice any of these warning signs, and you do call back, you’ll hear a pre-recorded message telling you to call a 190 number to win a prize, claim a refund or discuss a legal matter. This 190 number will usually be charged at a premium rate and can be expensive.

    Examples of SMS scams:

    • Congratulations! You were lucky. You have been chosen among 100 thousand people. You won a new iPad from us.
    • Congrats, [name]! You’ve Won 500.00 AUD To Spend at Aldi! Get your Free Card NO:
    • Hello, there’s is a Coles gift card issued to your account. You can validate here now:   Thank you, Amy K. Customer Service

    • If you get a call from an unknown person, always ask for the person’s name, whom they represent and their employee ID
    • If you’re not sure that the caller is legitimate, hang up and call the organisation by using their official contact details
    • Do not share your personal, credit card or online account details unless:
      • you made the call, and
      • the number you called was from a trusted source, like a website that you know is legitimate
    • Be careful of phone numbers beginning with 190. These are charged at a premium rate and can be expensive
    • If you think something's not quite right or is suspicious just hang up. If it’s an SMS, delete it and don’t reply
    • Never call a number contained in a spam SMS
    • Look out for SMS and MMS numbers that start with 19xx. These are charged at a premium rate and can be expensive. Also look out for numbers that start with an international country code other than Australia (which is +61)
    • Never reply to an SMS from a number or person you cannot identify, even to unsubscribe
    • Report SMS scams to the ACCC on 1300 795 995 or on Scamwatch
    • If you received an SMS or communication from Telstra that you believe is a scam, you can report it directly via our report misuse of service page


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