A SCAM that circulated email addresses last year claiming to be from Telstra offering customers a refund has surfaced once again.
People are being warned by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission not to click on any external links in emails that request either personal information or payment to recieve something that was theirs, such as a refund of bill overpayments in this case.
The latest incarnation of the scam, which former Sunshine Coast resident Alex Millway reported to the ACCC and the Queensland Police, appears to come from a Telstra email address and claims the person's monthly billing balance had been paid twice.
In order to receive a refund, the person is "requested to visit the Account Services space and Completing the claim to receive an immediate refund" and a link is provided below.
"I was nearly fooled because I had a Telstra account, but the numbers don't add up," Mr Millway said.
"Plus the dates (were wrong) considering I was out of the country by then. And $600 was impossible.
"I've been getting answers from friends that have received the same and even businesses on the Sunshine Coast got the same email so my guess is it's already been out there for a while."
ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said there had been more than 500 scams in the last three months that mentioned Telstra and 82 complaints had already been received in relation to the latest one.
"We have been having refund scams against trusted brands for years," Ms Rickard said.
"These are usually attached to telco companies, major energy companies and government departments, like the Australian Tax Office."
Would you recognise the Telstra email as a scam?
This poll ended on 11 July 2016.
Only because I've had these kinds of things before.
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The ACCC has recorded more than $350,000 in losses to reclaim scams this year and last year, more than $1.3 million was lost to similar types of scams.
"I think they are very realistic and are often timed to coincide with something topical, like the ATO scams coming in around tax time," Ms Rickard said.
"Scammers are very sophisticated and can often produce an exact replica of the brand name they are imitating, so I think that combo keeps pulling people into the trap.
"They also often create a sense of urgency, so people are prompted to act immediately and it stops people thinking when they go through the steps.
"Ultimately, no utility, telco, government entity or financial institution will ever ask you to pay money to get what's yours."
Ms Rickard also urged people to be wary of unsolicited emails from companies that requested them to update their personal details, as these vehicles for identity theft.
IF YOU FIND A SUSPICIOUS EMAIL
Do not click on any of the links or reply to the email.
Delete the email from your account.
Contact Scamwatch.gov.au to help them identify which scams are current and issue warnings to the public.
If you think it might be legitimate, contact the entity directly and enquire with them. Do not use the contact details provided in the email.