Police warn about fake grocery hamper prize

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Police are warning people to be wary about a scam that involves people being asked to think of a 4-digit number to receive a hamper full of groceries.

The victims are people who have had their wallets or purses stolen a few days earlier and unbeknownst to them, this is an attempt to get the pin number to their eftpos and credit cards.

Investigations are underway into two cases that have recently occurred on the North Shore.

In both cases a purse or wallet has been stolen from work places, eg reception desk and behind a shop counter, by offenders who distract the victim's and take their wallets or handbags.

Hours later the victim receives a fraudulent phone call from a woman claiming to be calling from Countdown supermarket.

The caller says to the victim that they have won a grocery hamper worth $500.

The caller is very convincing and tells the victim that they need to provide a 4-digit security number, so that when they go to pick the hamper up from the supermarket, they can tell the staff the 4 digit number, and that will identify them as the winner.

The victim then thinks of a 4-digit number and gives this to the caller. However, as many people might do, they provide a number that is the same one they use as their pin number to their eftpos or credit card.

There is no hamper and Countdown are not running any promotion of this type, nor do they ask winners to ever provide a security number.

The fake caller is actually the person who stole their wallet hours earlier, and the criminal goes on to try and withdraw money from the victim's account, using their stolen cards and the 4-digit number provided for the supermarket hamper.

Constable Damian Albert from North Shore Police said police are following strong lines of enquiry, but warn that the offender/s are very convincing.

"Because the callers aren't outright asking for your pin number, it's easy to be tricked. A lot of people, if asked to think of a 4 digit number, would give the same number they use as their pin, because it's easy to remember" says Constable Damian Albert, North Shore Police.

"It's possible that the offender/s have used other business names with similar scenarios, and we'd like to hear from anyone who has had their cards recently stolen on the North Shore and has then experienced this type of phone call' says Constable Albert.

"It's also a message to the wider community to never give out a number that you use as a pin number, for another purpose."

Anyone with information is asked to call Constable Albert on 09 213 7811.
Information can also be given anonymously to the organisation Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

- THE AUCKLANDER

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