by Georgina Swan

Telstra warns Queenslanders to beware of scammers

Apr 15, 2011

As if floods, cyclones and a tourism industry in tatters weren’t enough, North Queenslanders are now having to fend off attacks of a different kind — from scammers.

Telstra has issued a warning to North Queensland residents to be cautious when responding to emails or phone calls from organisations asking for personal details, following reports of emails and phone call scams.

The perpetrators email or phone Telstra customers, purporting to be from Telstra, advising them they are eligible for a bill refund.

Telstra Country Wide Area general manager for North Queensland, Rachel Cliffe, said her office had received several reports from customers, who had been told they must provide information such as their driver’s licence, passport details and home address to qualify for a refund.

“Telstra will never request this level of personal detail via email or over the phone, and any such request should be treated with caution,” Cliffe said in a statement.

“It is disturbing to hear these reports and we’re keen to ensure customers are careful not to share personal details unnecessarily.”

She said customers should ensure they are being approached by a legitimate Telstra representative or department before passing on their personal details.

“If you’re feeling unsure, just say ‘no thank you’, as it is possible unethical groups unrelated to Telstra are trying to access personal information,” she said.

Read more in CIO Australia’s security category.

Telstra does engage dealers and external suppliers to visit Telstra customers and make calls on behalf of the company.

“They will explain they are representing or calling on behalf of Telstra,” the company advised customers in a statement. “We always say clearly who we are and why we are calling.

“Importantly, telemarketing callers will ask customers to verify themselves for security reasons with their date of birth when offering a new service or plan to existing Telstra customers — so customers should make sure the caller does this.

Customers are free to ask the consultant how they represent Telstra can request a contact name and number if they want to verify the caller, the telco said.

According to Telstra, the company will not:

  • Send unsolicited emails asking customers to provide personal information.
  • Make calls under the organisation’s former trading name ‘Telecom’.
  • Release customer information to other telecommunications companies so they can ‘take-over’ the relationship with our Telstra home phone customers.
  • Queenslanders who suspect a scammer should report it to Telstra’s Sales Watch Hotline on 1800 260 270 between 8am and 5pm, Monday to Friday.

    “We are prepared to receive complaints about any type of sales activity, including door-to-door and telemarketing,” the company said.

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