How safe is your personal information?

Overseas call centre caught selling our account details

Proving the fears of many right, staff working at an Indian call centre have just been busted selling the personal information of Australian Optus, Telstra and Vodafone customers.

And apparently they’ve been at it for several years, offering these details for sale for hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars.

The data and privacy breach questions the security of overseas call centres, validating the fears many Aussies have held for years.

So, what’s the story?

  • Employees at Indian-based security firm AI Solutions have allegedly been selling the data of some Australian Optus, Telstra and Vodafone customers.
  • The data available for sale includes customer’s phone records, numbers and home addresses.
  • While they’re not able to access the content of customer’s messages, they can see information such as who customers have called, and when.
  • And of course it’s these details for celebrities and high profile personalities like politicians and police that are most prized – and sold for the highest price.

So what’s being done about it?

  • Apparently Optus, Vodafone and Telstra are aware of the security breach and are dealing with the Australian Federal Police about the issue, who are working with Indian authorities.
  • The telcos urge any customers with concerns their information has been incorrectly handled to contact them with their concerns so they can be investigated and potentially reported to the police.

How you can protect yourself

Instances like this reveal just how much we’re at the mercy of companies we have accounts with – we rely on them to protect our data.

And other than checking their privacy policy and letting them know you don’t consent to any of your information being shared, there’s admittedly little you can do to stop their staff or contractors going rogue.

However there are some important steps you can take to protect yourself from hackers and scams.

  • Keep your internet security software up to date
  • Have separate passwords for every one of your accounts – email, internet banking, social media, and website logins.
  • Update your passwords regularly
  • Beware of email phishing scams and don’t ever open or click on links within emails from unknown senders
  • Don’t ever reveal personal and security data online. Companies like your bank will never ask you for your PIN number over email.