Police warn of phone scam

Police are asking people to be wary of a telephone scam in which the caller claims to work for NZ Police and Spark NZ.

Acting Senior Sergeant Beth Purcell, Relieving Prevention South Manager says, “ironically, the caller claims to be targeting internet fraud.

“The victim is asked to purchase multiple iTunes cards at their own expense, and provide the numbers to the scam artist, who then redeems the gift cards and breaks contact with the victim, while maintaining remote access to the victim’s computer.

This is a variation on previous scams seen by Police, where the scammer claims to be from a widely recognised organisation in order to gain the victim’s trust.

Senior Sergeant Beth says these scams run constantly and while most people will not respond or buy into them, some people are more vulnerable.

“We urge people to have conversations with vulnerable or elderly family members, to help ensure they are aware of the tactics often used by scammers and don’t become victims.

“Business owners who note customers buying multiple gift cards of high monetary value should check they are not being pressured or duped into purchasing such large amounts,” says Senior Sergeant Purcell.

“Police’s message on scams like this is simple do not engage with anyone on the phone if you think you are being scammed hang up immediately and report the incident.

“If you are in doubt as to a caller’s legitimacy, ask if you can call them back, or just hang up.

“Regardless of whether you have lost any money, if you have installed a program allowing remote access to your computer, we recommend you seek assistance to ensure it is safely removed.”

Information on other scams that are currently operating can be found on the Consumer Protection NZ website: https://www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/general-help/scamwatch

Consumer Protection NZ, along with Netsafe, also provides helpful advice and information about keeping safe online.

Anyone who believes they are a victim of a scam, in person, over the phone or online, should immediately report it to their bank, and then to their local Police.