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Telstra warns of four-fold increase in imposter phone scams

​Telstra says it has seen a huge increase in telephone scams involving imposter employees tricking customers into disclosing their information.

Telstra's latest ad campaign involved celebrities impersonating Telstra employees, but these latest imposters are less welcome. Youtube/Telstra

Telstra has issued a warning to customers to watch out for scam phone calls, revealing that there has been a four-fold increase in telephone scams reported by customers over the past 12 months.

According to Telstra, the calls involve imposters pretending to be Telstra employees trying to sell fake software updates over the phone or attempting to get customers to disclose their personal information so these details can be used illegally.

"In most cases, customers...were called at home by a scammer and told they need to pay for technical support to fix a problem that doesn't exist on their home computer," Telstra's Executive Director of Customer Service Peter Jamieson said. "The caller falsely claims they are from Telstra and asks for remote access to the computer."

Jamieson advised customers to keep their personal information protected at all times and to be wary of calls from numbers they don't recognise. He said anyone affected by this phone scam should report it to Telstra, or if they've been victim to any kind of scam to report it to ACCC's SCAMwatch website or Crime Stoppers.

"The fact that most of these scam calls originate from overseas makes it difficult to prevent the calls from being made, so we are likely to see them continue," he warned.

For those that are unsure, Telstra has offered a list of tips to avoid scams:

If you're not sure that the person on the other end of the phone is legitimate, hang up and call the organisation by using their official contact details

Be wary of sharing personal, credit card or banking details over the phone, unless you've made the call or the phone number came from a trusted source

Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer

Make sure your computer is protected with regularly updated anti-virus and anti-spyware software

If your alarm bells are ringing or you think something's not quite right, just hang up