One in 10 Australians are being bombarded with an avalanche of nuisance and unwanted calls from potential scammers, a new survey has found.

One in 10 Australians are being bombarded with an avalanche of nuisance calls from potential scammers, a new survey has found.

Almost 90 per cent of Australians get at least one unwanted call each week, with 10 per cent of people hammered with more than ten calls every week, according to Crime Stoppers NSW.

A tell-tale sign that you’re on the receiving end of a nuisance call is the unusual delay after answering, NSW Crime Stoppers boss Peter Price warned.

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“If there is a distinct delay when you pick up the phone and the person does not announce who they are before starting the conversation, just hang up,” he said.

“Hanging up may be the difference between being scammed or not.”

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Scamwatch has reported phone calls continue to be the most common way scammers reach consumers, trying to siphon cash from targets.

Scam phone calls in 2021 have so far caused financial losses of $66.8 million, according to Scamwatch, who received 120,279 reports between January 1 and October 3.

The 2021 figures represented a 104 per cent increase in losses and an 87 per cent increase in reports.

Scammers are finding new ways to trick people into taking their calls, Crime Stoppers warned.

Caller ID spoofing is one tactic used by scammers to disguise their identity.

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If the scammer is calling from outside Australia, they can display an Australian phone number, including a mobile number, which increases the likelihood of you answering their call.

Some Australians are even receiving calls from “their own” phone number, Mr Price said.

Other Australians are having their valid phone numbers reported as being involved in a phone scam because the number has been stolen and used by criminals.

Mr Price said people should contact their telco provider immediately if their phone number had been stolen and used in a phone scam.

The survey found of those who receive unwanted or nuisance calls, more than 68 per cent have been asked for credit card or payment details or access to their computer.

More than half the people surveyed engaged with the nuisance call before eventually hanging up.

And in five per cent of the cases, people gave out personal information, credit card or payment details or access to their computer.

“A legitimate institution will not ask probing or personal questions on an unsolicited call,” Mr Price said.

“The questions may seem harmless, but they build a picture of you, where your finances are, your financial situation and other personal details that allow them to impersonate you and extract money.

If someone asks for your personal information, just hang up, Mr Price said.

“The best advice we can give to consumers is just hang up, then check if the call is legitimate by calling the organisation they claim to be from.”

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