Police in Alexandra and Central Otago warning people of scammers

Police in Alexandra and Central Otago warning people of scammers

Southern

Please attribute to Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk

Police are warning members of the public to be aware of a phone scam that is currently targeting New Zealanders.

In the past week, Alexandra Police have received a report from a local who was very nearly scammed out of significant amounts of money

A company selling holidays contacted a 90-year-old  man in Alexandra telling him that he had stayed at one of their motels in 2009 (which he hadn't) and he was due a refund.

To get the refund he was told to purchase New World gift vouchers to the value of $500. He was then told that a representative would come to his house and give him a cheque for AU $2,495  that he could claim a tax credit for.

Police went to the elderly man's address and waited for the call, the caller had an accent and stated their representative would not come around until the man had given them the code numbers for the vouchers first.

The male was very insistent and swore at the man.  He hung up and another man with an accent then called again and attempted to get the elderly gentleman to give him the voucher code numbers - he too was very aggressive.

On the final call Police answered the phone and identified themselves but the call went dead straight away.

Police believe there was no representative in Alexandra, and the caller was from overseas. Police believe that they only required the voucher numbers to gain access to the funds.

On this occasion it was the good work of the Alexandra Westpac Bank staff who realised that something was wrong when the elderly gentleman came to the bank to access his funds.

It was bank staff who accompanied him to the Alexandra Police Station as they were worried that he was about to be scammed and police thank the bank staff for looking out for the victim.

If you believe you may be on the receiving end of one of these calls, Police advise the following: 

*        Hang up immediately.

*        If it doesn't seem right, be cautious, double-check details first. 

*        Look after your personal details in the same way you would your wallet and other possessions: Your personal details are very valuable to scammers, they will use your details to take out loans or run up debts if they can. 

*        Be aware of common scams: For example, banks, Immigration New Zealand or Inland Revenue never email, call or text customers to ask for money to be sent using money transfer services. If you receive a request like that, it's a scam. 

*        Don’t trust anyone who calls you and asks for your financial related information, such as your account details and password.

*        Don’t trust anyone that offers you a reward that you have to pay for first.

If you have been targeted by a scam, report it immediately by visiting Consumer Protection's Scamwatch website at www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/get-guidance/scams-and-online-safety/scams .

ENDS

Issued by Police Media Centre

Media: S/Sgt Kerrisk has no more information or comment on this, but will inform media of any updates or developments.