Scam alert

Adrian Mrsnik, from Hip Pocket Workwear and Safety in Cooma, is urging locals to remain vigilant for phone scams, after receving a fraudulent call last week.

Adrian Mrsnik, from Hip Pocket Workwear and Safety in Cooma, is urging locals to remain vigilant for phone scams, after receving a fraudulent call last week.

COOMA residents are being encouraged to remain vigilant if asked to provide computer or personal details over the phone.

The warning follows a fraudulent call to a local business, where an alleged Telstra representative tried gaining access to the business's computer system.

Rita and Adrian Mrsnik from Hip Pocket Workwear and Safety in Cooma received the suspicious phone call during National Consumer Fraud Awareness Week, with the call coming around 2pm on Wednesday, June 18, where the caller informed Mr Mrsnik he was from Telstra.

"We received a call from a "Telstra" representative who insisted our internet had been hacked into," Mr Mrsnik said.

"The man on the phone said I needed to press particular keys on the keyboard otherwise our internet service was going to be disconnected immediately."

Mr Mrsnik was instructed to perform a number of tasks on his computer, which would have given the caller remote access to the computer. From this point, the person accessing the computer is able to view any personal information contained in the system and even banking details.

Telstra Country Wide Area General Manager for Southern NSW, Larissa Redford, said the week is a timely reminder that personal information is a valuable asset and there are criminals who will go to great lengths to get access to it.

"The criminals operating these scams have only one thing in mind and that is to try and trick consumers into disclosing their personal details so those details can then be used illegally," Ms Redford said.

"The increasing number of these type of scams is concerning and Cooma consumers should be alert to any attempts to trick them into disclosing their credit card or banking details over the telephone, via email or the internet."

Mr Mrsnik initially believed the call was regarding the landline phone outages experienced across Cooma on Friday, June 13.

"We've had issues with our phones and internet in the last week and a bit, so it made sense for someone from Telstra to be calling," Mr Mrsnik added.

A quick thinking Mr Mrsnik asked the caller to provide him with the phone number of his Vale St shop. When the caller was unable to do so and then didn't know the address of the premises, Mr Mrsnik knew he was part of a fraudulent call.

"Fortunately for us, we queried whether they were in fact from Telstra by asking them to tell us the amount of our last bill and to provide our street address," Mr Mrsnik said.

While the phone conversation continued, his wife Rita called Telstra to confirm if they were making the call or not.

"We subsequently telephone Telstra 13 22 00 and were advised that under no such circumstances would Telstra make such a call," Ms Mrsnik said.

"It definitely should ring alarm bells if the caller can't provide your basic information.

"So a quick warning to all, if in doubt, hang up on the suspect caller and call Telstra direct to check with them."

The fraudulent call comes as a reminder for people to be wary of providing personal information over the phone, especially if they are unsure of the caller's real identity.

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