Scam warning with dodgy calls on rise

An example of the ''Wangiri'' scam. Picture: HOW TO GEEK via online.

By Mitchell Clarke

A cruel scam targeting women and seasonal workers has been circulating in the community, prompting a warning from police.

The victims are said to be promised a “quick way” of earning extra money straight away, police say.

But the scammers then force their victims to pay a “one-off joining fee” of $780 and recruit two people within one month to receive the $5000 bonus.

According to Victoria Police, the scammers are mostly targeting women or seasonal workers and have been described as “very convincing”.

Police have urged the public to warn their loved ones about the mean deception.

The recent swindle comes as Telstra revealed it is blocking 1.5 million scam calls a week as part of their ‘Cleaner Pipes’ initiative.

On an active day, up to 500,000 calls are blocked by the telecommunications giant before they can potentially defraud customers, with an average of 6.5 million suspected scams cut off monthly.

Telstra regional general manager Loretta Willaton said scam calls weren’t only annoying, they also had a real financial impact on Australians.

“We know scams cost Australians $48 million each year but we’re stopping scammers in their tracks with a new, smart platform that monitors scammers in real time and blocks millions of calls from ever reaching our customers,” she said.

The dodgy calls are monitored through a smart platform which can track inbound calls on the Telstra network that have suspicious characteristics.

Prior to the automation, Telstra was already blocking more than one million calls per month using a manual process.

“While we’re seeing more scams and they’re more becoming more sophisticated, we’re meeting the challenge at Telstra and we’re blocking 1.5 million calls each week,” Ms Willaton said.

“We’re doubling down on scammers through Telstra’s Cleaner Pipes initiative and blocking around 6.5 million suspected scam calls a month before they even reach our customers.”

Some of the most prolific scams include spoofed number calls either pretending to be a legitimate service (like the ATO) or a random number entirely, and the ‘Wangiri’ or one-ring scams.

To report a scam: scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam.

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