Telstra has warned customers across Australia to beware of fraudsters posing as Telstra staff as well as hoax e-mails seeking financial data.
Telstra has been "inundated" by calls from customers, predominantly from regional New South Wales, regarding door knockers posing as employees of the telco.
"We've sent all our area managers some advice to share with customers. We've been inundated with several hoaxes and several door knocker complaints," a Telstra spokesperson said.
"It seems to be concentrated in some regional areas. New South Wales has had lots of feedback but that could be due to the number of people from the state," he added.
According to the spokesperson, threats to customer security typically spike during the beginning of the year, although the telco does not know why the trend occurs.
In the letter to customers, Telstra explained that it does outsource its door knockers, and reminds customers that all staff are given Telstra identification cards, which customers should check.
"There is also our Sales Watch Hotline if there are any concerns and to help identify if it's a genuine Telstra person," the telco's spokesperson said.
Telstra customers are also being targeted in phishing campaigns with numerous cases of fake e-mails being reported by customers. Telstra does communicate with its customers by e-mail, but it says that attachments are only sent on special occasions.
"We do communicate with clients by e-mail. That always includes the full company name and ABN (Australian Business Number). We also ask customers to log in to the Mybigpond secure Web page," the spokesperson said. "We never ask customers to send confidential e-mails, we don't include links to download and only include attachments if there is a strong reason to explain why," he added.
However a more pressing problem, according to the telco, is that customers are being called by fraudsters in overseas call centres who are also seeking financial and identity information.
"It's something which spikes every couple of years but we haven't seen this level of complaints for well over a year," the spokesperson said.
"We suspect these calls are coming from outside Australia. The vast majority are from international call centres. A dead giveaway [for a fraudulent caller] is when people claim they are from Telecom Australia. Some of them haven't clicked that we changed our name to Telstra a few years ago."