This scam is when someone receives a call and the caller says they're from Spark's help desk or Microsoft. The caller will usually say there's a problem with the person’s phone, internet or computer or they might ask you to update your information with them.
Common things the caller will say to try gain the person's trust include:
- “I’ve received a report that you’re experiencing slow internet”
- “I understand you’ve had Fibre installed so we need to run some tests”
The caller hopes one of the situations apply so the call sounds legitimate. The caller can also use scare tactics to create a sense of urgency. For example, "you must pay your account now or you'll lose connection immediately".
The caller will then ask the person to log onto their computer and download an application. This application enables the caller to access the person's computer. Team Viewer is the application that's often used. The scammer will show the customer what they claim are problems. They'll say they can resolve the problems for a fee.
Sometimes the person is then asked to do a bank transfer or credit card payment to pay for these services. If neither option is available to the person, they're asked to go to Western Union to make a payment. There have also been instances where the caller asks the customer to pay in iTunes vouchers.
On other occasions, the scammer may claim there's a security threat to your computer or router and pretend to transfer you through to the ‘Police Cyber Crime Unit’. The victim is then told that Police need their assistance to set up a “trap to catch the criminals”. They are convinced to withdraw large sums of money, often in the area of $10,000 - $15,000, and given an address to post the money to or bank account to transfer it to.
A variation of the Spark technician scam is rather than having a real person on the other line, the scammer pre-records an automated message. The caller uses scaring tactics like “your internet services will be disconnected” and tells people to press 1 to speak to an operator. This then redirects them to a scammer. This is not a legitimate call from Spark. Anyone who receives these calls should hang up immediately.