The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission states it has received hundreds of complaints this year about scammers impersonating NBN representatives.
The ACCC says one of the most common scams is Australians being offered NBN connections at a low price, with payment often being made through iTunes gift cards.
Another ploy is where the scammers will contact a victim claiming there’s an issue with the person’s computer and request remote access to the device. In some cases, payment is requested to “fix” the non-existent problem. In other cases, the victim’s computer is harvested for confidential personal information and/or malicious software installed.
Other scammers impersonating NBN representatives offer upgraded equipment and ask for personal information to confirm the victim’s identity.
“NBN will also never call you to remotely ‘fix’ a problem with your computer, or to request personal information like your Medicare number or your bank account numbers,” said ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.
In other NBN related concerns from the ACCC, the Commission says it has published guidance for retailers on advertising NBN broadband services, including clearly identifying typical minimum speeds that could be experienced during peak periods.
ACCC Chairman Rod Sims also stated approximately 30 percent of NBN customers have been signed up to low speed plans – and in some cases these plans may be no better or even worse than existing ADSL services. Additionally, broadband speed may not be indicated at all in marketing materials in some instances.
“Many other NBN customers, while on higher speed services, experience lower than expected speeds during busy periods due to under provisioning of capacity by their retail service provider,” said Mr. Sims, referring to what’s also known as contention ratio. Generally, the lower the contention ratio the higher the quality of service.
Contention ratios are one of the issues to consider when comparing broadband plans and services; however, information on this isn’t usually published.
The ACCC says while providing such guidance was an unusual step for the Commission, it felt compelled to do so as current advertising around NBN products is “poor”.
Part of the ACCC’s program also includes the installation of hardware in approximately 4,000 households over four years to determine typical speeds of fixed-line NBN services at various times throughout the day.