Tuesday, 21 June 2011 - 8:40am |
National News

Police re-issue warnings about scammers after elderly couple lose six figure sum

2 min read

Despite widespread media coverage of the problem vulnerable people, particularly the elderly, continue to fall victim to financial scams with the latest in Hamilton involving a six figure sum.

Detective Sergeant Dave Grace of Waikato Police Fraud said officers received a complaint on Wednesday relating to an elderly couple who had been the victim of a 'well spoken' Indian man claiming to be from Inland Revenue.

"This is not an isolated case however the large sum is. Over recent months Police have taken dozen calls from the public who have received unsolicited texts, phone calls or emails from people claiming they were from a bank or Government department.

Mr Grace said generally the caller says the person's bank has overcharged them fees or that the Government had over-taxed them and that if they wire an administrative fee via Western Union to an off-shore account they will receive a considerable refund.

The caller instructs the person to wire money to a foreign location. But despite the calls appearing quite authentic there are some basic safety steps people could take to protect themselves.

"Government departments do not solicit funds in this way, if you receive such a call contact the department concerned before transferring any money. Reputable banks also don't act like this. Again, if you receive a call of this nature go to your bank to check and what ever you do don't send any funds until you have done so."

"People need to realise that when you wire funds overseas by this method once the money has gone, that's it, it's gone.

Mr Grace said no matter how good an offer appeared the bottom line remained the same, it something appears too good to be true it probably is.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs has a wealth of information on a variety of scams and any one concerned they may be the victim of one was encouraged to visit their website; http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scams.

Anyone who believes they may have fallen victim to a similar scam is asked to contact Mr Grace at the Hamilton Central Police Station on 07 858 6200.