Scam foiled by quick thinking staff

Federal Member for Bonner Ross Vasta MP has praised the quick actions of one of his team members who saved a Bonner couple in their 80s from losing $29,000 from a sophisticated phone scam.

Mr Vasta said his electorate office often received calls from constituents to report attempted scams, but in this case, the couple fell for the professional-sounding callers.

“It makes me sick to my stomach to think this couple almost lost $29,000 and I am so glad we could stop it at the last minute,” Mr Vasta said.

“One of my team members received a call from a lady whose husband had been on the phone for two hours by a man purporting to be from the NBN.

“He was asked by to caller for access to his computer to hook up the NBN and logged on as requested. He was then advised the ACCC noted he had been overcharged by an internet company for three years and they were entitled to a refund.”

Mr Vasta said after asking for bank details and depositing the refund, he was then told by the caller they deposited too much and needed to transfer the overpayment back.

“The scammer also told the constituent not to tell the bank and that’s when his wife called my office,” Mr Vasta said.

“My team member immediately informed him it was a scam and the NBN would never ask for account details or remote access. She advised the lady to call her bank immediately and freeze the account, which she did.”

Mr Vasta said the couple then called back and advised his office the bank had just blocked an attempt to withdraw $29,000 and it was reported immediately to the fraud squad.

“It is a relief the bank blocked it just in time and it really serves as a reminder no matter how professional a caller may seem; you can never be too careful about your private information.”

According to ScamWatch, remote access scams are quite common. Warning signs include:

  • Receiving a phone call out of the blue and the caller claims to be from a large telecommunications or computer company, or a technical support service provider.
  • They tell you your computer is experiencing problems and they need remote access.
  • They ask you to buy software or sign up to a service to fix the computer
  • They ask for personal details and your bank or credit card details
  • The caller is very persistent and may become abusive.

ScamWatch tips on how to protect yourself from a scam:

  • Never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your computer.
  • Never give your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone
  • If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your computer and remote access is requested – hang up – even if they mention a well-known company such as NBN or Telstra.

If you receive a call believed to be a scam, report it to Scam Watch at

NBN Co also has a webpage advising of common scams and how to protect yourself at

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Gumdale / Wakerley Telstra Tower – 90 Second Statement

I would like to commend a grassroots action group in Bonner for their dedication to protecting residents and wildlife in Gumdale and Wakerley. The No Telstra Tower near Gumdale School group was formed out of a concern over a proposed mobile phone tower site.

I have spoken previously in this chamber about the great work that the No Towers Near Guardian Angels group had made, and now the No Telstra Tower near Gumdale School group has also done an excellent job in raising awareness of this issue. They have encouraged more accountability from Telstra. Just recently they held a community meeting that was well attended despite short notice. This goes to show just how passionate people are in our electorate.

I share the group's uncertainty on the proposed tower's location. It is close to Gumdale State School, C&K Gumdale Community Kindergarten, Kindy Kapers Early Learning Centres at Wakerley and several private residences, as well as a protected koala habitat. I note that Telstra has shown it is willing to hear out concerns over its proposal. Telstra representatives have met with me recently to discuss the proposal at length. Tonight Telstra will also be holding a community information session for residents.

I recognise that measures to satisfy the concerns of a section of the community must be balanced with the wider community's need for improved mobile services. I am pleased that the actions of the No Telstra Tower near Gumdale School group have ensured a more balanced result for all involved. I applaud them for their commitment and hard work. I will continue to work with the group and with Telstra to achieve a desirable and practical outcome.

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