The old adage "if it sounds too good to be true then it is", is something to always keep in mind.
From time to time police receive a rash of complaints where people have handed over their hard-earned money and never received anything in return.
Over the last year we have seen several scams, where offenders have initially contacted people by post, email or by text message. The offenders often offer large financial returns for minimal effort or cost on your part; there is just a catch.
A lot of sophisticated scams require you to send money overseas followed by a continuous tale of woe as to why you have never got what was promised. They will use involved stories and some convincing looking documents to get you to send them more of your hard-earned money.
There is a lot of good information and examples on the latest scams and how to avoid being stung on the internet. Good sites to go to are Netsafe, the Department of Internal Affairs websites and Scamwatch.
A couple of tips I was told include using a search engine, like Google, to research the company. Never rely solely on a link they send you.
Also most large companies will have email address ending .co.nz or .com not hotmail or gmail accounts. Always check the email address that they send you information or requests from, against the email domain quoted on the company's official website - be very wary of small differences. It always pays to check and double check what you are being told as there are a lot of people out there only too willing to take advantage.
- Detective Senior Sergeant Zane Smith is the officer in charge of the Rotorua CIB