For the past four years we’ve been getting bogus calls from people claiming to be from Telstra who then claim that our internet is about to be cut off due to our internet usage clogging up the system or, in some cases, claims that we’re completely destroying the Internet for everyone right around the country due to our so called fraudulent web activity. They then try and get us to download malware to our computers by saying they need remote access to ensure we don’t have any malware, or they’ll try and get our bank details to verify who we are, etc. No matter how many times we tell them to go ahead and just cut it off, they keep trying to con us. Seriously, if we don’t believe you the first time you call what makes you think we’ll believe you the 900th time you call? Obviously they don’t keep tabs on who’s said no unless they decide to attack you for not falling for the con by continuously calling over and over just to exact their revenge for not being taken seriously.
I began a thread on Telstra’s Crowd Support website here and you can see how it’s affecting quite a lot of people. Imagine how many others have been affected and they haven’t discovered or contributed to the thread.
Telstra keeps coming up with the same useless ways to solve the problem such as registering with the do not call register, which isn’t going to help because the scammers won’t actually be checking if you’re on the register or not before they call. There was one almost useful bit of advice, which they’ve erroneously flagged as the solution to the thread, that involves reporting the call to Scamwatch (didn’t really fix anything) and also contacting their unwelcome calls centre who can put a trace on the line which we had to do at one stage because the scammers became aggressive and would call just to abuse us before hanging up over and over, multiple times in an hour. A trace was put in place and I had to contact a certain person at Telstra every time we got one of the bogus calls so that they could log it into the system. It seemed to have worked, either that or the scammers just gave up giving us a hard time for not believing their stories. Only problem was, Telstra didn’t respond to the contact link one time and as the links are only good for one use, I wasn’t able to log any further calls with them as they never sent me a new contact link to use. Contacting the unwelcome call centre again didn’t get me anywhere the second time.
We’re still getting the calls from the scammers multiple times a day to tell us they’re from Telstra and that our Internet is about to be disconnected, so the only solution we have now is to use a home phone with an answering machine built in that announces who the caller is. So if it announces a random caller or a number instead of a name from our personal phone book, we don’t answer. Instead we let the answering machine take the call, which lets us listen to whoever it is as they leave a message before we decide if we want to pick up or not. So far we’ve had nothing but hang ups, which is fine by us. At least we don’t have to worry about talking to any con artists from now on.
If you actually ask the people doing the con to verify who you are, they usually come up with the correct name and address of the account holder. Obviously, they get their numbers from the Telstra white pages, either online or via the printed editions. Telstra place all their customers’ details in the white pages for free by default. If you want them to not publish your name, address and phone number they will actually charge you to keep the information suppressed. WHY? By not including our details in print, we’re not contributing to the cost of the phone directory or the online database. So how do they justify the added cost of charging you to not be in the phone book when it’s not costing them extra at all? If I was to do business with any other phone carrier in Australia for a home phone and internet service then I wouldn’t have my name, address and phone number in print or on the internet for anyone to look up. The only reason we use Telstra is because they’re the only phone service provider that seem capable of operating in our area with minimal disruptions to service compared to other providers that we have a choice from.
So, here lies the problem. Telstra gives the scammers the information they need with which they can try to better convince someone that they are who they’re not, yet penalise you if you ask that they don’t publish your name and address. It’s only a couple of dollars a month, but how much revenue are they actually raising per year from the people who do choose to pay the fee for a service that isn’t costing them any extra. If anything it should be cheaper to not print our details.
Anyway. Rant over. The answering machine is doing wonders for our sanity at the moment.