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Remote access scams

Scammers use various tactics to steal your personal information and ultimately commit identity theft. 

There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself from remote access scams.

Scammers usually call pretending to be from a large telecommunications or IT business, and convince you there is a ‘problem’ with your computer or internet, and that you need to buy software to fix it. They may claim your device has a ‘virus’ or that you have been ‘hacked’, or they may pretend to need your help catching a scammer.

They’ll request remote access to your computer to find out what the problem is or convince you to buy unnecessary software which they’ll offer to install remotely.

The scammer will ask you to download a program to enable them to access your computer and everything on it.

If you give them remote access they can install malware and steal your personal information and documents, change your passwords, track what you’re doing online, and restrict your access to the system.

Remember, you can still receive scam calls even if you have a private number or are listed on the Australian Government’s Do not call register. Scammers can obtain your number fraudulently.

Protect yourself from remote access scams

1. Be alert2. Say no3. Protect
If you get an unexpected call about your computer and remote access is requested—hang up immediatelyNever allow anyone remote access to your computer, even if they claim to be from a well-known company such as Telstra or the NBN Co. Never give personal, banking or online account details to anyone over the phone, unless you made the call using a trusted phone number.Secure your devices by keeping your operating system, software and plug-ins up to date, and install current antivirus software. Protect your accounts and WiFi network with a secure password. Research first and only buy software from a source you know you can trust. Back-up your data regularly and securely. The Australian Cyber Security Centre explains how to back up your data.

Content supplied by the Scams Awareness Network, a group of Australian and New Zealand government agencies with responsibility for consumer protection and policing in scams, cyber safety and fraud.