Members of the Do Not Call Register are being targeted by fraudsters masquerading as representatives of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Posing as the ‘Data Protection Council’, a purported arm of the ACMA, scammers are calling those registered on the Do Not Call Register advising them they are entitled to a $300 compensation payment.
In what ACMA is calling an elaborate scheme, customers are then requested to make a $149 ‘processing payment’ from their local post office to a Western Union bank account. Once the money has been sent the victim is told to call a Skype number with a case reference number the scammer has previously supplied.
In a twist ACMA says is designed to add legitimacy, the customer is then directed to ACMA’s own website and told to look for the non-existent ‘Data Protection Council’ link.
ACMA Telemarketing Investigations manager Eve Osiowy said this latest was a variation of the bank recall scam, which involved victims being encouraged to pay a fee to receive a specific amount of money.
“That’s fairly standard,” she said. “Be wary for anyone who asks for credit card details or to access your computer if you haven’t prompted the call. If it’s unsolicited you should immediately be suspicious.”
Osiowy said the scammers were playing on a common misconception that members of the Do Not Call Register were entitled to compensation if the Act is deemed by a court to have been breached.
The ACMA was alerted to the scam early last week, after which it put out a consumer alert on its own website, and used its joint Scam Watch website venture with the ACCC to also issue warnings.
The consumer watchdog said the scam does not appear to have yet been successful but urges customers to be wary of unsolicited phone calls. It is currently investigating the issue.