Elderly lose $120,000 in telephone scam

Police said if anyone suspected they were on the phone to a scammer, they should hang up immediately.
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Police said if anyone suspected they were on the phone to a scammer, they should hang up immediately.

Elderly residents in the Tasman district have lost $120,000 to phone scammers claiming to work for Spark.

Police have issued a warning about the scam that is currently targeting New Zealand residents.

Police have received several reports in recent weeks from people who have been scammed out of significant amounts of money after being contacted by someone claiming to work for Spark.

The scammers say they need to speak to them regarding issues with their Spark account or computer.

In the Tasman area, three elderly residents have been scammed out of a total of $120,000.

Enquiries into the scams have discovered that in some of these cases the funds have been deposited into Australian bank accounts.

"Spark will never call customers out of the blue to ask for personal details like bank account, credit card, or internet banking details," a police spokesperson said.

Spark's general manager of care Bridgette Dalzell said if anyone receives a call from someone claiming to be from Spark who asks for personal information, end the call immediately.

Police said if anyone suspected they were on the receiving end of one of these calls they should hang up immediately."If it doesn't seem right, be cautious, double-check details first.

"Look after your personal details in the same way you would your wallet and other possessions.

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"Your personal details are very valuable to scammers, they will use your details to take out loans or run up debts if they can."

Police said places like 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.

"Don't trust anyone who calls you and asks for your financial related information, such as your account details and password.

"Simply hang up, call them on their published contact 0800 number or arrange a meeting at the relevant agency branch."

Scams can be reported by visiting Consumer Protection's Scamwatch website at www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/get-guidance/scams-and-online-safety/scams

 - Stuff

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