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Police warn scam posing as officers returns

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Sandy Beech

13 June 2024, 7:14 PM

Police warn scam posing as officers returnsElderly Aucklanders being targeted in phone scam.

A phone scam re-emerging in Auckland has Coasties on high alert as swindlers pose as police officers to con residents out of thousands of dollars.

The New Zealand Police urge locals to be vigilant after multiple reports of the scam have surfaced in recent days.

At least two elderly Aucklanders have been deceived by the fraudsters, losing tens of thousands of dollars.

Detective Senior Sergeant Ryan Bunting of the Waitematā CIB explained that scammers are cold calling, primarily on landlines, and falsely claiming to be police officers.

“They will also provide a fake ID or badge number to make their call seem legitimate,” said Bunting.

“This person will carry on and provide a reason for their call: either they are investigating fake bank notes, or that your credit card has been cloned. As part of this scam, they will ask you to withdraw money from a nearby bank to be collected or ask you to provide further financial or banking information to aid their investigation.”

The police are currently investigating two reports this week from South Auckland and the North Shore, where victims withdrew cash from their banks and handed it over to individuals posing as police officers.

“Both victims withdrew cash from a bank and handed this over to someone who arrived at their door to collect it under the fake cover story,” Bunting explained.

“These victims have had their good-will and trust trodden on by these scammers.”

The police have ensured there is support available for the victims.

Detective Senior Sergeant Bunting emphasised the lack of ethics among scammers, stating, “Scammers have no ethics whatsoever and will take any opportunity to try and con you. These scams take many forms, and the offenders trick people under a variety of guises or storylines.”

Legitimate police officers may contact people as part of their duties, but Bunting stressed the importance of being cautious and spreading awareness among friends and family, especially the elderly.

“We are particularly keen to ensure elder family members are aware of what is happening,” he said.

“If anyone receives a call of this nature, hang up. If you have had the unfortunate position of being a victim to this scam and have not reported this, we encourage you to report this to Police.”

The New Zealand Police offered several reminders to help the public identify potential scams:

  • Police will never call to ask for bank details, PIN numbers, or passwords.
  • Police do not offer prize money.
  • Police will not ask you to go to a bank to withdraw money.
  • If you receive an unexpected call of a similar nature, challenge the caller to identify themselves and ask for their details.
  • Hang up and contact 105 to verify the caller's identity and request the officer to contact you.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The community is encouraged to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activities to the authorities to prevent further incidents.