MP among skimming scam victims

Julie Anne Genter - new Green Party MP. Photo / supplied
Julie Anne Genter - new Green Party MP. Photo / supplied

Green MP Julie Anne Genter is among up to 60 New Zealanders targeted in an international skimming scam, while three men charged over the scam have appeared in court today.

Ms Genter said her bank statement showed nine separate withdrawals of 200 Canadian dollars and a $6 international fee.

"I didn't realise because I'd been off the grid for three days, tramping in the Marlborough Sounds, and when I got back to town last night I went to pay for our fish and chips my card got declined,'' she told APNZ.

"It turned out I had a message from the Kiwibank fraud office saying they thought there was fraudulent activity.

"I was surprised (the Canadian bank) didn't have a daily limit because they basically just kept withdrawing 200 Canadian dollars until the thing stopped giving them money.

"The Kiwibank fraud office people haven't rung me back yet, but I'm guessing it will be covered by insurance.''

Ms Genter had to borrow money from friends for food while the bank sorted out the situation.

"I'm sure I'm in a better position than a student who's living month to month because I have some savings,'' she said.

"Although I do have a rent payment going out tonight that I'm not able to cover without transferring money from my savings account.''

Alleged scammers in court

Meanwhile, three men have appeared at Auckland District Court charged over the eftpos skimming scam.

Four men have been charged with participating in an organised criminal group and fraud related offending.

They were the first to be arrested in a series of three skimming scams in New Zealand this year.

Sina Chea, William Alexande Rivera-Rivas and Mario Rivera were remanded in custody until April 30.

A fourth man, Kevin Roberto Flores Roldan, has yet to appear.

They were allegedly part of a gang behind a sophisticated eftpos card-skimming operation in which up to 60 people had lost thousands of dollars.

The cash had been withdrawn from at least 60 BNZ and Westpac accounts via a cash machine in Canada at the weekend. Other banks' customers, including the ASB's, have also been affected.

The latest cases have allegedly targeted eftpos terminals inside stores - possibly by replacing them with machines with devices fitted or by tampering with them in store.

Detectives from the Auckland City District Financial Crime Unit are liaising with their Canadian counterparts regarding the four men.

The full extent of the offending has yet to be ascertained and detectives are working with the Financial Services Industry to ascertain the impact for New Zealand.

The scam is separate from one that targeted five ANZ and National Bank ATMs in Auckland in February and March, when more than $1 million was taken by fraudsters who withdrew the money in cities around the world.

In those cases, a "skimming'' device was fitted over the slot where the card was inserted into the ATM. Information was collected from the card's magnetic strip while a tiny camera fitted above the keypad recorded the PIN being entered.

- APNZ

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