Fraudsters are persuading or bullying older Tasmanians into getting access to their computers.
Once they get into the computer, the scammers steal bank or money details, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission.
If you get a phone call out of the blue about your computer and remote access is requested, it's a scam 100 per cent of the time.ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard
The swindle, called a remote access scam because the racketeers want to take control of the victim’s computer using the internet, has hauled in $4.4 million nationally so far this year.
“The scammers are becoming more sophisticated,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.
“The old trick scammers used to use, was to call people and say there was a virus on their computer that needed fixing but, in a new twist, they are now telling people they need their help to catch hackers.
“There are many stories from people who give a scammer access to their computer and are then conned into giving access to online banking. Some are also tricked into providing iTunes gift card numbers over the phone.”
The swindlers can become threatening and aggressive if they sense they are ‘losing’ the victim, or starting to cotton on.
“If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your computer and remote access is requested, it’s a scam 100 per cent of the time. Just hang up.”
Ms Rickard said often the scammers would pretend to be from the police or a well known organisation such as nbn co, Telstra or Microsoft. They tell the victim they need their computer to fix a problem in their system.
The Scamwatch website has had an upsurge in the scam, with more than 8000 reports in 2018 and losses totalling $4.4 million.
“The spike in remote access scams is very concerning; losses so far in 2018 have already surpassed those for the whole of 2017, and sadly it is older Australians that are losing the most money,” Ms Rickard said.
“It’s vital that people remember they should never, ever, give an unsolicited caller access to your computer, and under no circumstances offer your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone.”
If you are the victim of any form of swindle or scam, report it to www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam