Aussies are being swindled out of thousands by cybercriminals posing as the NBN and asking customers to do a “speed test” on their connection.
Aussies are being swindled out of thousands by cybercriminals posing as the NBN and asking customers to do a “speed test” on their connection.

This NBN ‘speed test’ could cost you thousands

Vulnerable Australians are being swindled out of thousands by "insidious" scammers posing as the NBN and asking customers to do a speed test.

Over the past six months, a new scam has been on the rise, where customers receive an email from someone posing as NBN Co, and are urged to click a link to test the speed of their connection.

With just one click, they are unwittingly giving scammers access to their computer, and through that they are able to steal banking details and other sensitive information.

Jane McNamara, head of media for NBN Co, said the thief's next move would typically be to get the customer away from their screen, giving them unmonitored remote access to the person's desktop.

Often the target will be asked to go outside and check their NBN box, or to go into another room.

In some cases, they are told radiation or harmful UV rays will come from the computer and instructed to move away from or cover the screen.

This is currently one of the top three scams related to the NBN, in addition to robocalls from 'Nicole' or 'Carol' threatening to disconnect a customer's account unless a payment is made, or a fraudulent invoice being issued.

NBN Co spokeswoman Jane McNamara said the high visibility of the NBN rollout made customers less likely to question if the company was truly trying to contact them. Picture: Supplied
NBN Co spokeswoman Jane McNamara said the high visibility of the NBN rollout made customers less likely to question if the company was truly trying to contact them. Picture: Supplied

The irony of this, is that NBN Co does not have the contact details for anyone connected to the service, as a person can only connect through an internet and phone provider like Telstra or Optus.

"Scammers thrive on uncertainty and misinformation when it comes to the use of the nbn brand to access people's computers to steal information or push for unnecessary payments," Ms McNamara said.

"NBN Co is a wholesaler and does not make unsolicited calls to sell products, request remote access to computers through programs like Team Viewer, ask you to purchase gift cards in lieu of cash payments, threaten to disconnect your services, or request personal or financial details."

More than 2000 NBN-themed scams have been reported in the first six months of this year alone, with national losses in excess of $320,000.

Most of the victims who reported financial losses were over 45, but data showed Australians from all age groups had reported a scam since January.

In a desperate bid to end the "heartbreaking" spate of attacks on vulnerable Aussies, NBN Co is now holding one-on-one information sessions, as well as community information nights with the public.

A national virtual information session will be held on Thursday at 2pm.

NBN CO'S TOP TIPS TO AVOID SCAMMERS

  • Visit NBN Co's website at www.nbn.com.au/scamadvice for information on how to identify and avoid potential scammers or for advice if you suspect you have been scammed
  • Remember NBN Co will never call and ask to access your computer or advise that you're going to be disconnected. NBN Co is a wholesaler, which means it does not sell phone or internet services directly to the public. People need to contact their preferred phone and internet provider in order to make the switch
  • Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer or devices via the installation of programs, such as Team Viewer
  • NBN Co does not make automated calls, such as robocalls, to advise of disconnections to nbn™ or existing copper phone line services. Do not engage with these calls
  • Do not share your financial information (i.e. bank, credit card or gift card details) or personal details with an unsolicited caller or door knockers trying to seek payment for a service over the nbn network. If in doubt, hang up and call your retail service provider on their official customer service centre number to check if the call is legitimate. Do not use contact details supplied by the caller.

Originally published as How NBN 'speed test' could cost thousands


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