Flood scam warning

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Scammers have been using the floods affecting Northland to try to steal money from Northlanders' bank accounts
Scammers have been using the floods affecting Northland to try to steal money from Northlanders' bank accounts

Northlanders are being warned about scammers trying to siphon money from people's bank accounts while claiming to be collecting money for a storm relief fund.

The scam came to light this morning when a woman at storm-hit Te Kao, north of Kaitaia, contacted police.

She had been called by a person asking for donations and claiming to represent a storm relief charity.

Alarm bells rang when the caller asked for her bank account and PIN numbers.

The woman put her husband on the line who told the caller, in no uncertain terms, what he thought about a scam taking advantage of a natural disaster and Northlanders' generosity.

Senior Constable Tracee Knowler, of Houhora police, said she suspected many people had been targeted around the North. Luckily the people who had contacted her realised it was a scam.

"I can assure you all that no legitimate outfit would ever ask you for those details (bank account and PIN numbers). They are simply scumbags hoping to use this opportunity to fleece what they can from our community and our people that are already struggling," she said.

She urged anyone called by the scammers to take a note of the phone number, if it appeared, and pass it to the nearest police station. The number for Houhora police is (09) 409 8822.

Ms Knowler said the scammer sounded convincing and "reasonably professional".

* A genuine storm relief fund, the Far North Mayoral Emergency Relief Fund, should be ready to take donations from tomorrow morning. Details of how to donate will follow.

Anyone in the Far North whose home is flooded or who urgently needs accommodation, food, heating, clothing or medical supplies should call the Far North District Council on 0800 920 029. The number for Whangarei is 0800 932 463.

- Northern Advocate

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