Scam promises big gain

A new scam doing the rounds in Palmerston North had one man supposedly winning more than $50,000 after taking part in a phone survey.

Mervyn Dykes said he didn't usually take part in phone surveys, but when he was called by a man with an Asian accent earlier this month asking if he would take part in a shopping habits survey, he found himself saying yes.

After a few questions, he was told he would go into a raffle as a prize for participating.

A week or so later, he was called by another woman, calling herself Charlotte, who told him he had been invited to a presentation in Wellington, where the draw would be held.

He told her he couldn't go.

A few days later, he was called again and told he had come second in the prize draw and had won HK$340,000 (NZ$53,400).

"That's when I got suspicious," he said.

He was told he had fill out some forms and reply within three days to verify himself as the prizewinner and be given a number.

"I was waiting for them to ask for my bank account number, but they never did," he said.

He got the forms by email and decided not to bother with them.

Instead, he got online and found similar scams had been happening in other countries. It appeared from other people's experiences that the company asked for money later on in the scam.

He reported the matter to police.

Similar scams to have also been reported to the Department of Internal Affairs scams page.

Meanwhile, Palmerston North police are warning credit card holders and retailers to be extra careful with credit card details over the holiday season.

Retailers are reminded to ensure staff check signatures against credit cards, and check the name on the card matches the gender of the user, particularly when it is busy and the pressure is on.

"Offenders know it's a busy time and they know if they are in a queue, they are more likely to get through because of the pressure on the teller to get things done."

Manawatu Standard