Scammers target Telstra customers

Beware of callers claiming to be from Telstra or BigPond as it could be a scam, the government's SCAMwatch service has warned.

According to the watchdog, this is a new variation on an existing scam, where a caller pretending to be from Microsoft or Windows claims there is a virus on their intended victim's computer.

In order to fix the problem, the victim must hand over their credit card details for 'anti-virus software'.

SCAMwatch is warning households that the scammers have switched tactics by masquerading as Australia's biggest telecommunications provider.

"They tell you that your computer has been sending them error messages or that it has a virus. They may mention false problems with your internet connection or your phone line which they say may have affected your phone and computer’s recent performance.

"They may also claim that your broadband connection has been hacked," SCAMwatch said on its website.

How to protect yourself from scams

Telstra - or any other Australian Internet Service Provider (ISP) - will never call up out of the blue and demand credit card or bank details. So never feel pressured to hand over this information.

Make sure your computer has the latest anti-virus software installed. There are versions available online.

If you are concerned your computer may have been hacked, seek advice from a qualified computer technician.

If you believe your bank or credit card details have been compromised, inform your bank or financial institution immediately.

You can also report scams to your ISP, or to the ACCC via the report a scam page on SCAMwatch or by calling 1300 795 995.

Find out more on protecting yourself online with our guide to online safety.