NBN Scam Call: A New Twist On An Old Idea

I got a scam call — this was nothing new — except that it was on my mobile (a rarity) and purported to relate to my NBN connection. You know, the one I haven’t got.
Image: Frédéric BISSON
I’ve had an inordinately crappy day, and to be brutally frank, if it had been just one more Microsoft scam caller, I would have hung up on them entirely. But an NBN scam caller?
That was a new one by me. So I stayed on the line (which didn’t properly identify itself for a return call — I do wonder what the process for that particular bit of bastardry is — anyone know?) to suss out some more details.
After stating they were from “the NBN”, they later clarified that they were from Commander NBN, which if I do a little searching brings up this mob, part of the M2 group that also owns the Dodo and iPrimus brands. It’s possible that they were doing some very weird cold calling, but I’m going to veer on the side of caution and say that they might not be involved at all. A legitimate business should usually call from a legitimate number, or at least you’d think they would.
So the NBN, then. I’m not on the current NBN roadmap, and in sad fact, I’ve never even been on any version of the NBN roadmap, despite living in what is called “Sydney”.
I am in an HFC area, however, and it’s fair to guess that this is what my “NBN” will end up being. The call in question was, I eventually dug out of them, for a “no-fee consultation” at my property, but they’d need to know who my current provider was.
Ah. Of course they would. They then threatened that if I didn’t go ahead with the consultation, “I would lose my phone line completely!” before hanging up. I think my reticence to give them a sensible answer was what killed the call, but maybe they were just very busy or something. There’s certainly a lot of NBN work to do.
So what’s the scam? At best guess, it’s an attempt to get Telstra or Optus customers to sign over their POTS lines to a different carrier, and at a guess, one with (shall we say) less that friendly rates using the traditional method of scaring consumers into thinking that they’ll either miss out or be cut off if they don’t sign on the dotted line. Nasty business, but not a new scam by any stretch of the imagination.
While NBN services on fibre do indeed replace the traditional copper because the traditional copper is no more, and that’s presumably what they’ll do with FTTN as well (in at least as much as the last mile bit of copper should be the only bit still maintained to the best of my knowledge), if you’re using HFC for phone lines, there’s no “digital” upgrade to be done. If you’re in an area yet to receive NBN services (as I am) there’s no upgrade being done at all at this time.
No, I don’t particularly know if this was actually M2’s Commander sales team, or just someone impersonating them, but the takeaway lesson is the same either way.
If you do get a call claiming to be from the NBN and stating that your phone lines need to be “upgraded” to “digital” after a “fee-free consultation”, then feel free to ignore it, unless you’ve got the time to waste keeping them on the line. Just like any other scam, the less successful they are with you, the less time they have to prey on the more easily frightened.

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