Warning over phone scams

By Mike Dinsdale

3 comments

Northlanders are being warned about two telephone scams that are targeting the region - one claiming to be from a government department and the other a money laundering scam.

A Whangarei woman received a phone call at home this week from a man with a 'foreign accent' who claimed he was from a government department that was going to give her a grant of $6300.

However, the woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said she knew straight away it was scam as "the government doesn't just give you money ... It's more likely to ask me for money."

So she told him it was scam and he immediately hung up.

The Ministry of Business Industry and Employment's Consumer Protection team said the call is a scam.

"Scammers claiming to be from a so-called 'New Zealand Government Grants Board' are cold calling people to offer them grants of several thousand dollars due to their 'clean' record with no criminal convictions or bankruptcies," team manager Mark Hollingsworth said.

"After confirming their personal details, the scammers ask the recipient to pay a fee up front in order to receive their grant. This is a scam and those who receive such a call should hang up immediately.

"If you get a cold call from someone claiming you are entitled to a grant, refund, have won a holiday or have a virus on your computer, hang up immediately. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is," he said.

Meanwhile, Northland police said people have been receiving phone calls from an unknown caller, who then asks for personal financial information.

"It appears the caller is asking for the person's bank account numbers so they can deposit money into their account," Detective Greg Johnson said.

"The caller says they will then deposit money into that account and ask the person to withdraw the money and deposit it overseas, via Western Union for a fee.

"This is a common type of scam in which the caller is essentially 'cleaning' dirty money and ripping people off in the process."

The phone calls appear to be from Wellington and Auckland.

-For more information on scams or to report one, visit www. scamwatch.govt.nz.

- Northern Advocate

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