Attempts by telephone scammers to illegally obtain personal information are on the rise, with Telstra already receiving more than 4,000 reports of scams from its customers this year.
Customers in New South Wales have made the most reports to Telstra about telephone scams this year (1734) followed by Victoria (758), Queensland (737); Western Australia (371); South Australia (217); Tasmania (48); the Northern Territory (27) and ACT (21).
Some of the most common telephone scams reported to Telstra include scammers who falsely claim to represent Telstra, and ask for remote access to a consumers’ home computer, to fix a problem that doesn’t exist; and scammers who tell consumers their home phone will be disconnected if they don’t pay a fee. In both cases, the scammer is trying to gain unlawful access to a person’s identity and in particular their personal banking details.
The Telstra Call Guardian 301 is Australia’s first home phone with a virtual assistant that asks unknown callers to announce their name prior to being connected. When the phone rings, you answer and hear the caller’s name announced. You can then choose to block, accept or send the caller to the answering machine.
The phone can store up to 1,000 numbers and friends and family can be added to the contact list so their calls will get straight through (Calling Number Display is needed for calls to get straight through, additional charges may apply).
Telstra Director of Fixed Voice and Platinum services Jennifer Douglas said the Telstra Call Guardian would help give customers the peace of mind that they’re talking to someone they know when they answer their home phone.
“We know unwanted calls can be very frustrating for our customers. From scammers offering to ‘repair’ the family PC to salespeople calling just when you’ve settled down in front of the TV, they can be an unwelcome intrusion.
“We already do a lot of work in arming our customers with the information that can help them distinguish scammers from genuine callers. Now customers can have their very own tool to block unwanted calls.”
Ms Douglas said the Telstra Call Guardian is easy to use, features an integrated answering machine and importantly helps customers to avoid scam calls coming from overseas that authorities find challenging to track and disrupt.
Customers can report telephone scammers or rogue telemarketers by calling Telstra on 1800 260 270.
An information flyer titled ‘Is it really Telstra calling’ can be accessed by visiting www.telstra.com/verify. The flyer contains advice for customers to help them identify a telephone call made by an authorized Telstra representative.
Telstra tips on how to avoid telephone scams:
If you're not sure that the person on the other end of the phone is legitimate, hang up and call the organisation by using their official contact details.
- Be wary of sharing personal, credit card or banking details over the phone, unless you’ve made the call or the phone number came from a trusted source.
- Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
- Make sure your computer is protected with regularly updated anti-virus software.
- If your alarm bells are ringing or you think something's not quite right, just hang up.
About Telstra Call Guardian 301:
The Telstra Call Guardian 301 home phone, available exclusively to Telstra, incorporates built in multi award winning Qaltel call blocking technology which allows customers to filter incoming calls and decide whether to accept or reject them. The virtual assistant asks callers to announce their name prior to being connected, so when the phone rings the user can hear the caller’s name announced.
Customers then have the option to accept or reject the call or send to the answering machine. The phone can block up to 1,000 numbers, while saved numbers get straight through. However, Calling Number Display (CND) is required for saved contacts with a listed number to get straight through - additional charges for CND may apply depending on your plan.
The new Telstra Call Guardian 301 home phone is available for purchase on a 24 month Hardware Repayment Option with an eligible Telstra home phone plan or bundle for just $3 per month, or for $72 outright.
Hardware Repayment Option
If you cancel your plan or your Hardware Repayment Option early, you’ll need to pay any remaining hardware payments. More information about Telstra Call Guardian 301 is available at https://www.telstra.com.au/homephone/handsets