Tuesday, 2 March 2010 - 2:18pm |
National News

Scammers pass themselves off as law enforcement agency

2 min read

Nigerian-based scammers have attempted to pass themselves off as representatives of NZ's Organised and Financial Crime Agency (OFCANZ).

The email scam has come to light just as Police and other agencies are supporting Fraud Awareness Week to help educate the public about how to protect themselves against scammers.

The scammers have targeted a woman who has already been the victim of a scam by pretending that they are OFCANZ investigators looking into her case.

Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess, head of OFCANZ said the scammers asked the woman to pay more money to help with the investigation.

"Fortunately the victim was suspicious of the unofficial looking emails, bad grammar and broken English and reported it to Police."

"We don't know of anyone else who has been targeted by this particular scam, but would encourage people to ignore any such email and report it to police."

It is particularly nasty, given that the intended victim in this case had already lost money through a scam perpetrated by the same people."

Mr Burgess said that it was timely reminder especially this week, which is Fraud Awareness Week, that people must be vigilant against scammers."

"They are not above trying to pass themselves off as law enforcement agencies. They will say anything if they think it will persuade someone to start handing over personal details and cash."

"However, people should know that no New Zealand law enforcement agency would ever contact people in this way and certainly would not ask for money to help with an investigation."

"The best course of action if you get such a request is not to respond to them at all. By responding you provide the scammer with your contact details. If you don’t respond they don’t know you exist and they can’t take your money."

"Many scams, like this one, originate from outside New Zealand and once money is sent overseas it’s virtually impossible to recover."

Mr Burgess said although Police were investigating the OFCANZ email, enquiries like this were always difficult because the offenders are operating outside New Zealand."


To find out more about scams and Fraud Awareness Week go to www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scams

Jane Archibald
Public Affairs
04 474 9442