Flatmate scam costs Cantabrian $2000

Last updated 13:14 10/12/2013

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A Canterbury man who advertised for a flatmate was left out of pocket after he was scammed for more than $2000.

Police said someone claiming to be from South Africa responded to the man's advertisement.

It was agreed the new flatmate, who told him they planned to move to North Canterbury, would put the first week's rent - $150 - in the man's bank account before moving over this month.

However, $2325 turned up in his bank account.

The man contacted the flatmate about the over-payment, and was asked to withdraw the excess and send it back via a Western Union transaction.

The scammer then managed to reverse the original bank transfer, leaving the Cantabrian $2175 out of pocket.

Detective Sergeant Rex Barnett said the man would not get the money back.

"He's out of pocket," he said.

Barnett said such scams were likely under-reported, but because the offender could be anywhere in the world there was little police could do about it.

Most banks were aware of scams, so if someone was unsure about a request to transfer money internationally they should check with their bank first.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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