ACMA takes aim at telemarketing scammers

Friday, 25 March, 2011

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has created a compliance initiative to help combat telemarketing scammers that purport to be from antivirus companies.

In such a scam call, a telemarketer will cold call a consumer and claim that the consumer’s computer has a virus, one that the telemarketer’s company can remove remotely for a fee. This ‘removal’ requires the consumer to relinquish control of their computer to the telemarketer and then provide banking or credit card details.

These telemarketers may then install malicious software on the computer or use the banking or credit card details for any number of nefarious purposes.

The scam has become quite widespread, according to ACMA.

“In the first three months of 2011, nearly half of all complaints about telemarketing calls made to numbers on the Do Not Call Register have been about these types of calls,” said ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman.

“ACMA understands that while some businesses offer a legitimate virus prevention or removal service, many are falsely claiming to be related to reputable companies, such as Microsoft.”

To put a halt to these scam calls, ACMA has created a compliance campaign for businesses that offer online virus removal and technical support.

The campaign so far has included formal investigations into four separate computer virus companies.

Telemarketers that are investigated by ACMA can incur fines of up to $110,000 a day.

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