Ex-policeman faced hurdles reporting spam
Waimate resident Glyn Tunnicliffe believed he was doing the right thing when he reported a scam he received via text - now he is not so sure.
"It's not so much a complaint about getting the scam, I'm more annoyed that Telecom and the police weren't interested and I was given the runaround," the 79-year-old said.
Tunnicliffe received a text at 12.35am on June 25 asking for a bank account so his $1 million prize from the Guinness beer company could be deposited.
"Nobody with half a brain would reply, so I deleted it."
Later that morning, Tunnicliffe phoned Telecom.
"They told me they can't do anything about it - they showed no interest whatsoever."
Tunnicliffe said he then phoned the Waimate police station, twice, but his calls were put through to Timaru police.
"I left two messages and on the third time I called I spoke with an officer in Timaru who was rude and had a terrible attitude. He said he couldn't help me and referred me back to the Waimate police."
A former police officer in the United Kingdom, Tunnicliffe said he was "disgusted" with the lack of interest.
"We would have been in so much trouble if we had acted like that. You always had to portray to the public that they can trust you and try your best to help no matter what the situation."
Two days later, Waimate police officer Steven MacDonald visited him and wife Carol, armed with an apology.
"He was very apologetic and took the details."
With scams becoming an everyday part of life, Tunnicliffe said he felt he needed to do something.
"They say report it, but this sort of reaction breeds contempt for the system. Why the hell should we bother?"
Both the Department of Internal Affairs and Consumer Affairs websites provide detailed information about reporting scams.
However Tunnicliffe said that does not help the elderly who don't know how to use computers.
Yesterday The Herald contacted Telecom regarding Tunnicliffe's complaint - which led to an apology.
Telecom media communications advisor Vicky Gray said a staff member phoned Tunnicliffe yesterday to apologise for the way he was treated.
"We reviewed his call and we take total responsibility. It is frustrating he didn't get the help he needed at the start."
Gray said if anyone got a scam via text they should forward it to 7726.
"We work closely with the Department of Internal Affairs and have a process in place to deal with spam messages. Mr Tunnicliffe is now aware of this process but hopefully he won't have to use it the future."
REPORTING SPAM TEXT MESSAGES
Forward the spam message to 7726
You will receive a reply asking for the number the spam message was sent from.
Reply to the message from 7726 with this number.
The spam and sending number will be entered into a registry and investigated by the Department of Internal Affairs.
Alternatively, use the online form on the Department of Internal Affairs website at dia.govt.nz/ to report the spam. You can also report email and fax spam on the same site.
The Timaru Herald