Phone scam warning issued

Police are warning people not to send money after unsolicited phone calls and texts cost one Waikato man $9000.
Waikato police have received about 12 calls in recent days from people who received texts or calls claiming to come from a bank or a government department.
The caller had said the bank had overcharged fees or that the Government had over-taxed them, and they would receive a large refund if they wired an administrative fee to an offshore account via Western Union.
"People need to realise that when you wire funds overseas by this method once the money has gone, that's it, it's gone," Detective Sergeant Dave Grace of Waikato Fraud Squad said.
"We know of one case a Hamilton man lost $9000. The bottom line is no matter what the pitch, if something appears to good to be true it probably is."
Among those who received an unsolicited email was a Hamilton East business owner who is involved in the legitimate transferring of funds, Mr Grace said. He quickly contacted IRD about the email's claims and was told they were false.
Mr Grace said there were some basic safety steps people could take to protect themselves.
"First of all, in instances where people have claimed to be from Inland Revenue, Government agencies don't solicit funds over the phone, go into IRD and query the validity of the call.
"Reputable banks also don't operate in this way, if you receive a call of this nature, go to your bank to check, and what ever you do don't send any funds until you have done so."
Anyone seeking more information is advised to visit the Ministry of Consumer Affairs website.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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