ScamFit gives Australians the skills to fight back against scammers with the goal of helping reduce the impact of NBN impersonation scams, which have cost Australians over $1.5 million this year
After successfully arming 10,000 Australians with the skills to identify and manage NBN impersonation scams in 2021, NBN’s scams education program, ScamFit, is back for round two.
This year, NBN wants at least 50,000 Australians to step into the ring and get ScamFit through a series of online and in person workshops over the next 12 months.
NBN Chief Security Officer Darren Kane said, “We believe everyone should enjoy the benefits of the NBN network, but we also have a responsibility to help people use it safely and securely. While older Australians are the most vulnerable to NBN impersonation scams and make up almost one quarter of this year’s reports, the ScamFit program aims to equip all Australians with the skills and know-how to identify, respond to, and report such scam attempts.”
The latest research from the Australian Competition and Consumer’s (ACCC’s) Scamwatch – released in time for Scams Awareness Week, which kicks off today – reveals 4,386 people in Australia were targeted by NBN impersonation scams between January and September 2022, with reported losses totalling $1,580,213.
“We also know that only around 13 percent of victims report any type of scam to Scamwatch which means the prevalence of NBN impersonation scams and losses is far greater than this,” said Mr Kane.
NSW ($553,204), Queensland ($470,191) and WA ($254,909) reported the highest number of losses so far this year. Victoria, which was number two last year, fell to fourth place with $216,234 lost to NBN impersonation scams.
Compared to the same time period as 2021, there were 2,072 less reports of NBN impersonation scams nationally between January and September this year, however $151,738 more has been lost to such scams this year.
“Every year, scammers become more sophisticated in their approaches and strategies to extort money. They know how to sound convincing, tap into our everyday behaviours, and can create a sense of urgency which can throw people off.
“We want to help all Australians build their confidence and competence to recognise scam attempts, learn how to shut down a conversation and avoid being tricked or making a mistake,” said Mr Kane.
Losses to NBN impersonation scams are primarily due to ‘remote access scams’, one of the largest growing online crime types in Australia. In this scenario, a scammer will call and request access to a person’s devices, gain access to their banking credentials, and then transfer money. The scammer often claims that the person’s computer or device has been hacked, and they can fix it via remote access.
“Scammers often use current events such as NBN full fibre upgrades to legitimise their reasons for contact. The rule of thumb is, if someone claiming to be from NBN contacts you and says you’ve been hacked, you’re going to be disconnected or asks to remotely access your devices, hang up on them and report it to the ACCC’s Scamwatch.”
Mr Kane also stressed the importance of reporting scams to Scamwatch, “it helps create a clearer picture of the level of scam activity happening across the country to enable us to have the right measures in place to help keep Australians safe online”.
On Tuesday 8th November at 12.00pm AEDT, NBN is running a national, online ScamFit workshop which is free for anyone to attend. The workshop will be hosted by Rebecca Moonen, NBN’s Cyber Safety Outreach Manager and will run for 60 minutes, covering how to successfully identify and report a scam, and how to protect your personal information from cyber criminals. Registrations are essential, visit our event page to find out more.
“From Modbury (SA) to Canning (WA) to Inverell (NSW), and across the country, we’ll also be running more than 100 in person and online ScamFit workshops, throughout the next 12 months,” said Mr Kane.
A number of these sessions are run in partnership with the Australian Seniors Computer Club Association, the national peak body for seniors and technology.
Nan Bosler, Emeritus President of the Australian Seniors Computer Club Association said, “While people over the age of 65 are often the most vulnerable to NBN impersonation scams, we know that given the right skills and training, there’s no reason older Australians can’t arm ourselves against scammers – and maybe teach younger Australians a thing or two about getting ScamFit.
“There’s no need to be scared of technology, once you know how to use it safely and protect yourself from harm, there is so much to be enjoyed from it,” continued Ms Bosler.
Tips from NBN on how to protect yourself from being scammed
- Know the signs: NBN will never call to say you’ve been hacked, and ask to remotely access your devices.
- Protect yourself: Use multi-factor authentication whenever you can.
- Trust your gut: If something looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Protect your information: Use a different password for each account – then if one is breached, the others won’t be.
- Don’t engage: Hang up on scammers and delete their texts and emails. Then, report it to the ACCC’s Scamwatch.