Impersonation scams based on representing the National Broadband Network (NBN) have hit Australians to the tune of $1.2 million during the first nine months of the year.
This is according to data from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch, which is a 21 per cent decline compared to 2022, which saw a $1.6 million loss over the same period.
On a state and territory basis, Scamwatch claimed half of this year’s losses came from NSW, with $601,482 lost in reported incidents. Queensland came next, with $227,939 lost over the nine-month period, then Victoria with $172,171.
Following this was South Australia with $89,594, Western Australia with $64,829, the ACT with $54,500 and Tasmania. The Northern Territory recorded no losses due to NBN impersonation scams.
The primary scam type associated with the impersonation scams were remote access scams, which are executed through remote access software such as AnyDesk.
“Every year, scammers are becoming more sophisticated in their approaches and strategies to extort money,” said Darren Kane, NBN Co chief security officer. “They know how to sound convincing, create a sense of urgency and frequently change their scripts to leverage the latest products and news from companies like [NBN Co] to build credibility.
“The rule of thumb is, if someone claiming to be from [NBN Co] contacts you to ask for access to your devices or offers to improve your internet speed for you, hang up on them and report it to the ACCC’s Scamwatch.”
Additionally, Australians aged 65 and over made up 81 per cent of the losses, at just over $1 million. For comparison, the same period last year saw this age group make up 55 per cent of losses, at $875,335.
As a result, NBN Co is expanding its partnership with the University of Third Age (U3A) – an organisation that offers various activities, talks and courses for “mature-aged, retired and semi-retired people”, according to U3A – to offer in-person workshops to identify scam attempts and how to prevent them.
Scamwatch's data on NBN impersonation scams comes months after the federal government's Minister of Communications claimed over 1 billion telco scams were blocked during the 12 months to July 2023.