Australia’s Consumer Protection Agency is being inundated with Optus-related fraud complaints in the wake of the massive data breach.
The head of Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission said the regulator’s fraud team was receiving about 600 complaints a week related to the breach, which has compromised the personal information of millions of Australians.
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ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said many scammers are taking advantage of the large-scale data breach, posing as the telecom giant or Equifax Protect, the credit reporting agency tasked with assisting data breach victims, to defraud consumers.
She told a parliamentary committee people were confused about the legitimacy of the communications.
To date, according to Cass-Gottlieb, there have only been a few instances where scammers have successfully scammed victims out of money by pretending to be from Optus.
Multiple investigations have been launched into the massive breach after the personal information of 10 million Optus customers was exposed last month.
Information released in the breach included the passport, license and Medicare numbers of hundreds of thousands of customers.
The Australian Information Commissioner’s Office launched an inquiry on Tuesday to look into the personal information practices of Optus and its parent company.
His investigation will focus on whether Optus took reasonable steps to protect customers’ personal information and whether the information collected and stored was necessary for their business.
The investigation is being coordinated with an investigation being conducted by Australia’s Communications and Media Authority, which will examine Optus’ customer information obligations as a telecommunications provider.
If the investigation uncovers serious or repeated data breaches, the Commissioner has the authority to seek civil penalties of up to $2.2 million per breach in federal court.
Information and Privacy Commissioner Angelene Falk urged all organizations to review how they handle personal data and their response plans to data breaches.
“Collecting and storing personal data that is not reasonably necessary for your business violates privacy and poses risks,” she said.
“Gather only what is reasonably necessary.”
The two regulatory investigations will be included in an external review conducted by Deloitte for Optus.
The Australian Federal Police are also conducting two investigations into who obtained and attempted to sell the data and privacy of more than 10,000 customers whose records were posted online.
https://7news.com.au/business/consumer-protection/urgent-warning-to-aussies-as-optus-related-scams-flood-in-after-massive-breach-c-8513350 Optus Cyber Attack: Urgent warning to Aussies as data breach-related scams arrive