Offer of free flight a scam

ANNA WILLIAMS
Last updated 09:42 28/05/2014

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A Blenheim woman is warning people to be wary of scams after a "bizarre" call offering her an airfare credit.

The woman was called about 10am yesterday at her central Blenheim home.

An automated message, supposedly from Air New Zealand, started playing when she picked up the phone.

The message said she had won a $900 credit to be used on a future flight as part of a promotion.

The message said the win came because she had flown with Air NZ. Her husband used the airline about six weeks ago, she said.

The woman, who did not want to be named, was told to press ‘1' if she wanted to claim the credit.

When she did, she was transferred to a woman with an Indian accent who sounded as though she was calling from a call centre because of noise in the background.

"She asked if I had a credit card, and I said ‘yes'," she said.

"And then it went dead on the phone . . . it was bizarre to start with."

She immediately thought it was a scam but had continued because she was curious and wanted to see what the next step would be.

Other people, particularly the elderly, could fall for it if they believed they would win $900, she said.

She reported the incident to police, who told her they hadn't had any cases of scammers claiming to be from Air NZ in Marlborough.

An Air NZ spokeswoman said the company had been contacted by several people who been called by a message purporting to be from Air NZ offering credits to be redeemed on future bookings.

"We can confirm these calls are not from Air NZ and the airline does not use automated calling systems," the spokeswoman said.

Air NZ strongly advised customers not to provide any personal details and to hang up if they received a phone call from an automated system claiming to be Air NZ.

A police spokeswoman said it appeared to be the first report in Blenheim about an Air NZ scam.

She warned anyone who suspected a scam to report it on the website Scamwatch at consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scams.

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- The Marlborough Express

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