Phone scammers ramp up activity in Marlborough

Community Constable Russell Smith has been hearing from people across Marlborough who have been targeted by hoax calls.
PAULA HULBURT/STUFF

Community Constable Russell Smith has been hearing from people across Marlborough who have been targeted by hoax calls.

A spate of phone scammer calls have hit Marlborough prompting police to warn people to be on their guard.

Police say persistent scam callers have been ringing homes across the region, with many refusing to take no for an answer.

Community Constable Russell Smith has cautioned people to be extra vigilant and not to talk or respond to any calls they believe could be suspicious.

He says the hoax calls, claiming to be from computer giant Microsoft, are an attempt by criminals to gain access to people's personal computers.

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"There does seem to be a spate of it going on at the moment; it's certainly more prolific.

"Just hang-up straight away, do not engage with them verbally as their focus is to draw them in and convince you they're genuine.

"No-one from Microsoft will ever call about a problem; it's up to you to call them," he says.

Russell says the computer-based fraud hinges on potential victims being persuaded to give the caller remote access.

Once in, the criminal can "steal anything", he says.

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"This type of fraud is all about gaining the listener's confidence so they can get remote acess. They can take banks details, passwords and even hold your computer to ransom."

People across the region have received these scam calls, with many calling back even two or three times in a row.

Russell says the criminal gangs involved would be under pressure to deceive as many people as possible but catching the overseas perpetrators was a difficult process.

"They're pretty desperate.

"It's not easy to trace where the calls come from as they use a temporary server system that's quite clever.

"Even if we do trace them and get the international police organisation, Interpol, involved we then have to rely on police forces in countries and that doesn't always work." he says.

The best to tackle these types of calls is to to let them go to answer machine advises Russell.

"If you don't have an answer machine or service and answer an unexpected call from someone with a foreign accent, hang up straight away. It's not worth the risk." he says.

For further information and advice visit consumerprotection.co.nz.

 

 - The Marlborough Express

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