BYTE ME: Australians deserve better
HOW many wrecked lives will it take before our government (any Australian government) takes some action?
I'm talking about thousands of innocent individuals Australia-wide who every day are losing varying amounts of money to scammers. This is becoming an epidemic that is getting worse every month and it principally affects the very people that can least afford it.
I was starting to look for a topic for today's article when yesterday, at around 10am, we had an elderly gentleman arrive at our shop. Under one arm he had a desktop PC and under the other he had a laptop. An existing customer of ours - Peter (name changed for anonymity) was less than happy with the events of the last week.
Peter had received a call from NBN regarding his telephone line and internet connection. They needed to update some things on his PC immediately in preparation to the upcoming NBN changeover. They also told Peter that they would hand his case number over to Telstra so that they could be in contact to complete the changes.
Peter does all his banking through a southern banking company and all his interactions with the bank are via the internet. Once the caller had gained access to the PC they simply installed some remote connection software and waited for their chance to log into his bank and transfer $5000 to themselves. Not content with just that amount they waited another 2 days and transferred another $5000.
When Peter first noticed the missing amounts his bank told him that it was too late to reverse the first transfer, but they would be able to stop the second amount. They also put a freeze on his account until he could get all his devices to us and get a certificate from us stating that his devices were free from remote control software.
So why did Peter give them access? He told me that he could barely understand the caller's Indian accent, and this is exactly what he expected from a Telco. He had to concentrate very hard just to comply with what they needed him to click on. Now, take the time to read those last two sentences again and ask yourself - is this what we should now expect from some of the largest service industries in our country?
Why don't we take a glance at Australia's largest Telco, a company that insists on outsourcing its customer support to low-cost, off-shore call centres. Last financial year Telstra made a net profit after tax of $3.5 billion - let me write that number for you $3,500,000,000 - now let's look at Peters' loss $5000 - are you starting to see where this is headed?
So, what is the job of a government? Is it not to protect its constituents and 'govern' what happens in this country? Do we have full employment of our workforce? Do we have such a great standard of living that we can afford to outsource our technical support to other countries? If our government cared, they could stop this outsourcing immediately, employ more Australians, help our standard of living and near eliminate these insidious phone scams.
Peter has a right to expect to talk to someone in Australia next time he needs help with his phone or internet.
Computers, phones and internet connections are highly technical and that last thing we need are offshore call centres. This change is well overdue.
Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave St or on 49222 400.
-- Bruce Kerr, BYTE ME