New Zealand Police want to help prevent your loved ones falling victim to scams – and we need you to spread the word with your friends and families.
We know that scams are often targeted towards more vulnerable members of society who may not have the knowledge or information to protect themselves. Sadly this often involves older people – and being Elder Abuse Awareness Week we wanted to share some advice that might prevent more people falling victim to scams.
Earlier this month an older gentleman was scammed out of a significant amount of cash after he received a call from someone claiming to be from a New Zealand telecommunications company. The victim was a customer with the company for internet, cell phone and landline and the call seemed genuine. They even claimed they were working with Police, and put a ‘detective’ on the line who said the man had to post a significant amount of cash in order to catch the offenders who were, allegedly, hacking the man’s computer. Believing the call was genuine, he posted the cash. The man asked for a tracking number and quickly realised something wasn’t right so he called Police. The parcel was able to be tracked, put on hold and retrieved by Police.
Thankfully in this situation Police were able to assist with tracking down the man’s money but unfortunately this is not always the case.
Police’s advice is to always be vigilant and to never automatically trust someone over the phone or online who you haven’t met in person.
If you are receiving a call from someone purporting to be from a business, ask them for credentials and never hand over personal details such as computer passwords or bank account details.
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. If something looks or sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If a victim believes they have been scammed and lost money, it is critical that they report this matter to their bank immediately. Anyone who believes they have been a victim of a crime, online or in person, should also get in touch with Police.
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. Similarly, Police will never ask for a payment of any fine, infringement, or penalty through a phone call and we'll never ask a member of the public over the phone for their PIN numbers or passwords.
Sometimes people are scammed by someone who has befriended them online – possibly romantically – who claim they can help solve their problems with money. This particularly targets those who may be lonely and vulnerable, and is often harder to spot.
We urge you to not only take this advice for yourselves but also share it with someone else who might need it.
Have a chat to family members who may be isolated or who might not have access to these messages. If they are a victim of a scam they might be ashamed to ask for help or let you know what’s happened. You can help support elderly friends and family with technology advice and guidance - taking the time to help them can make a real difference and potentially stop them falling victim to certain scams.
Let them know that scams like this do happen and to never give cash or personal details to someone they don’t know.
For further information on different of forms of elder abuse and resources on the topic please see https://www.ageconcern.org.nz
Issued by Police Media Centre