NBN Co is receiving upwards of 100 calls from the public each day about suspected internet connection scams, as the rollout of the $50 billion network picks up pace.
Calls to the network builder’s contact centre reached 9500 during the last three months, a significant increase on the 6700 enquiries received between October 2018 and March 2019.
It comes as a large proportion of the network comes online ahead of the 2020 completion date, with more than 10 million homes and business now able to make the switch.
Launching an awareness drive to combat the prevalence of scams on Monday, NBN Co’s chief security officer Darren Kane said the scams were a “major topic of concern” for the community.
“As we close in on the end of the network build, scammers are increasing their efforts to take advantage of the nbn brand as a way to steal people’s personal or financial details and using increasingly sophisticated ways to convince people of their legitimacy,” he said.
The education program will see NBN Co’s community engagement team, nbn local, host a series of information sessions to help Australians identity and avoid scammers.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has previously warned of scammers impersonating NBN Co in calls and offering to connect them to the NBN for a low price.
In some instances, impersonators have also tricked users into giving remote access to their computers, allowing the scammers to steal personal information, install malware and demand payment to fix alleged problems.
Kane said NBN Co wanted to help allay concerns relating to scams “so that Australians aren’t confused or deterred from making the switch”.
“As NBN Co is a wholesaler, we will never contact residents or businesses to sell phone or internet services,” he said.
“We will never make unsolicited calls or door knock for the purposes of seeking access to people’s computer, threaten to disconnect your services or request personal or financial details.”
Australians are expected to lose a record amount to scams this year, with the ACCC revealing on Monday that projected losses for 2019 are expected to surpass $500 million for the first time.
“Many people are confident they would never fall for a scam but often it’s this sense of confidence that scammers target,” ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard said in a separate statement.
“People need to update their idea of what a scam is so that we are less vulnerable.”
The ACCC said investment scams were one of the most sophisticated and convincing, with nearly half of those reported this year resulting in financial loss.
Cryptocurrency investment scams are also a serious cause for concern, having netted $14.76 million in losses between January and July.
This is a significant increase on the $6.1 million lost to cryptocurrency-based scams last year.