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Scam calls: how to sniff out a fake

Scam calls: how to sniff out a fake

It’s an all too common scenario.

The phone rings. You answer. You’re told that you’ve been overcharged for your phone bill. You’re going to be refunded $200! All the caller needs are your bank account details, and that money will be sent your way.

Hopefully, you realise that this call seems a little fishy and hang up, but it’s easy to feel unsure about what’s going on. According to ScamWatch, over $175 million was lost to scams in 2020. Over a quarter of these losses were the result of a scam carried out via phone.

So how do you work out if that call is legit?

Quick tips

  • If you’ve received an unexpected phone call from a caller claiming to be a provider of a service you already use, hang up, and contact the company back via their official contact details.

  • Don’t click on any links received via SMS from an unknown number.

  • Block numbers that you aren’t sure about.

  • Never return a missed call from an unknown number — get in touch with your service provider through their official contact methods.

  • Trust your gut. Not sure? Just. Hang. Up.

What to look out for

Phone-based scammers often claim to be from well-known organisations, like your telco, energy provider, or even the Government. Using a series of tactics, they try to get you to hand over sensitive info, money, personal details and access to your devices.

Scammers are always trying new tricks, but there a few common things to keep a look out for.

Urgent & unexpected

Scam callers often try to catch you off guard, and pressure you with tight timelines. For example, the caller may say they can process a refund to your account — but only if you provide your account details immediately. They’ll often apply lots of pressure to act quickly. That’s not Belong’s style, so tread with caution if excess pressure is being applied and end the call.

It’s in the details

Legit businesses have legit ways for you to update and provide details. If a caller is actively asking you for personal info, such as your bank and credit card details, it’s a good idea to be skeptical. Belong will never call and ask for your bank account details, unless you’ve lodged a support request about your account. We’ll always encourage you to update your details yourself through your app or online account.

Too good to be true

We’d all love a cheeky $500 bill reimbursement as much as the next person, but the chances of me getting one for nothing are slim to none. If a deal sounds too good to be true, it likely is. Be wary of calls saying that you’ve won a prize, or qualify for large financial rebates, followed by a request for bank details or personal info.

Computer access

Your telco (like us, hi!) will never call you out of the blue to request access to your computer. Some scammers will try to get you to provide remote access to your computer by telling you it will assist them with your query, or that they’ve detected a virus that they need to remove. If you’ve been in touch first about a technical issue, Belong might ask you to describe what you’re seeing, or send a screenshot — we’ll rarely need to access your device to work out what’s going on with your service, and only if you’ve requested technical support first. Unexpected calls requesting computer access should tingle your Spidey sense to hang up.

Repeat calls

We won’t keep hassling you if you’ve said no to an offer or asked us to end a call. Scammers often call you multiple times in a row to make the matter look urgent. Don’t give into pressure — block the number, and get in touch with your service provider if you think an issue could be urgent.


Despite what scam callers might have you believe, bills can’t be paid in iTunes gift cards, bitcoin, or wire transfer. If a caller asks you to purchase and provide gift cards of any kind, it’s time to hang up.

Trust your gut when something doesn’t feel right

Stay up to date

It’s good to be in the know about scams that are doing the rounds. The ACCC Scamwatch keep track of common scams, and provide handy info about how to identify and protect yourself from each one.

Report it

Think that 11pm phone call asking for your email address is dodgy? Report it! The ACC has an online form where you can pass along all the details of that suspicious call. You can also report the number to the register.

If the caller was pretending to be from one of your service providers, you can also let them know too.

You can also reach out to IDCARE, a not-for-profit identity and cyber support service that can lend a hand depending on your specific situation.


A good rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution, and simply hang up if you’re not sure. If the call is really from your telco, or energy company, we won’t be offended — your security is our priority, so we’ll find another way to get in touch.

If you’ve received a call claiming to Belong, but you’re not sure if it’s really us, just sing out via our official channels, and we’ll get our detective hats on.