Hamilton police are urging caution over a newspaper advertisement for a mortgage finance business that is being run by a known fraudster.
The ads have appeared in community newspapers around the country, with the advertisement appearing as far back as June 2003. They offer mortgage services and appeal to people who do not meet normal lending criteria. People are asked to contact a mobile number for further details.
Detective Rob Isaac of North Hamilton says police were alerted to the fraud when a man complained that he had deposited nearly $3000 into a bank account in Auckland and had heard nothing since.
Police inquiries have revealed the bank account is in the name of a well known Auckland fraudster. Police are keen to talk to anyone who has responded to the advertisement and deposited money into a bank account.
Mr Isaac said the man had responded to the ad after he found a house he wanted to buy. He was asked to deposit money to cover loan application fees, lawyersâ€™ fees and two valuations. He was also asked to provide income and bank details.
The man assumed he was depositing money into a solicitorâ€™s account. He tried unsuccessfully to contact the business after three finance dates passed.
Mr Isaac said it was important that police spoke to others who had been duped by the fraudster.
"There is likely to be other people who have seen the ad and responded. We are keen to talk to anyone who might have lost money to this man or who has dealt with him in any matter.
"We would advise people not to respond to this ad in any way. They are highly likely to lose money if they do. We also advise people to be wary of paying for services that they have yet to receive. The practice of divulging personal information or money to persons or companies unknown to you carries an inherent risk."
Anyone who has responded to the ad should ring Mr Isaac at North Hamilton police, phone 8546000.