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UK national arrested in Auckland police scam

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Sandy Beech

24 June 2024, 11:01 PM

UK national arrested in Auckland police scamScammer caught after nearly $300k lost

A police investigation has led to the arrest of a UK national involved in a scam that duped 18 Aucklanders out of nearly $300,000.

The scammer, posing as a police officer, called victims' landlines, providing a fake badge number and requesting financial information or cash withdrawals.

Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Bolton from Auckland City’s Financial Crime Unit detailed the scam's tactics.

“The scam will always involve this so-called officer asking for financial information or asking you to withdraw cash to be collected as part of an investigation into banks,” Bolton said.

On Monday, police apprehended the scammer following a foot chase through central Auckland.

The 25-year-old UK national faces 22 charges, including obtaining by deception and attempting to obtain by deception.

He will appear in Auckland District Court, with police opposing bail.

Detective Senior Sergeant Bolton highlighted the scammer's intention at the time of his arrest.

“We will allege in court that this man, who only arrived in New Zealand in early June, was on his way to collect more cash from a previous victim,” he said. Detectives intervened just in time to prevent a $20,000 loss.

The victims, aged between 56 and 90, mostly over 80, lost a total of $297,700.

Detective Senior Sergeant Bolton expressed concern over the impact on the elderly community.

“This man’s alleged actions betrayed the goodwill of vulnerable and elderly members of our community,” he said.

Police are continuing their investigation and aim to recover as much of the lost money as possible.

Police advice to avoid 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 withdraw money from the bank.
  • If you receive a suspicious call, ask for the caller's details and verify their identity by contacting 105.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.