Bank's theft advice: Don't tell police

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 12:58 17/06/2014

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Police are concerned that a victim of an elaborate method of theft of credit card details has been advised by a local bank not to tell police.

Nelson Bays area commander Inspector Steve Greally said yesterday they had not received any further complaints in relation to a burglary operation that targeted people's identities and credit cards, but he was "disturbed" by an approach from one victim who had told police that the bank advised against telling them.

The victim said the bank would carry out its own investigation.

The response has also concerned the Bankers' Association, which said such cases should always be reported to the police.

Police warned Nelson home owners last month about a cunning new burglary operation that targeted people's identities and credit cards.

Six victims had come forward to report what appeared to be an elaborate method of home break-ins, in which nothing had been taken except photographs of their credit cards.

The thieves appeared to have targeted homes with ranchslider doors, which they had been able to remove and enter people's homes relatively undetected.

They had then rifled through victims' handbags and wallets and photographed their credit cards, then used the stolen details to buy items online.

In one case they had managed to buy online a return domestic air fare from Nelson.

Greally said the spate of break-ins had happened in Richmond, Stoke and Nelson, and had not been limited to any particular neighbourhood.

He wanted to reinforce the message that for the police to be effective, they needed to know what was happening.

"We rely on people to report crime."

Bankers' Association chief executive Kirk Hope said breaking and entering or burglary should always be reported to the police.

"You should also contact your bank if you think you've been a victim of fraud. We strongly recommend people check their banking records and report any unauthorised transactions to their bank as soon as possible."

Hope said in cases where the customer had not contributed to the fraud, banks would stand by their customers and cover any losses.

Greally said recently that the burglary operation was the first he had heard of that sort of crime happening in Nelson. He has since become aware that the method was more widespread and had happened in other parts of the country.

"It has not been limited to Nelson. The MO [modus operandi] has been experienced in Wellington also," Greally said.

He said it was not clear if it had started in Nelson, but it appeared to have stopped since publicity about it.

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"All it takes is for someone to come up with the idea. Criminals talk and things spread as a result."

- The Nelson Mail

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