Vigilance urged as scammers enjoy spoils
Scammers and spammers have been hoodwinking Manawatu residents with a series of online ploys.
A Palmerston North man, who asked to be identified only as Bryan, was targeted by scammers this week when he bought a book on the Trade Me website.
He was expecting an email from the woman who sold him the book, so when he received one he did not think twice about clicking on it.
The email brought up a pop-up asking him to re-log into hotmail and when a poorly worded statement informed him he had "won a iPod", he realised something was wrong and closed the link. "I was a little bit blurry-eyed - I'd just woken up, but I instantly knew this was nothing to do with Trade Me.
"I'm the most anti-junk-mail person you can see, but I got duped."
Bryan then received emails from many of his email account's contacts asking him about the email he had sent them, despite never knowingly sending them anything.
One told him he had received the same message from someone else, so it was likely the spam emails were doing the rounds.
Trade Me head of trust and safety Jon Duffy was unaware of the scam and said it was more likely to be a result of email hacking.
A good tip was, if asked to click on a link, to hover the mouse over it and check the address was related to the organisation, he said.
"Take the time - a lot of these sort of scams rely on people being busy."
Bryan was not the only person targeted this week. Otaki residents have been telephoned by people seeking information on their computer systems, such as passwords.
Detective Sergeant Tim Moffatt, of Palmerston North, said there had not been an obvious increase in scam activity in the Manawatu region, but police had received calls from a few people caught out.
One Palmerston North resident had been tricked by an Olympic ticket scam, he said.
Several websites selling bogus Olympic tickets are under investigation internationally and Palmerston North police had passed on the information to Interpol.
Mr Moffatt was also aware of a resident who recently paid for accommodation online before realising it did not exist.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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