Warning on phone scams

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Police have urged members of the public to be vigilant after the re-emergence of phone scams from callers claiming to be from government departments.

In recent events, the callers have demanded money in the form of vouchers and made concerning threats to victims should they not transfer funds.

These calls can appear fairly legitimate if the caller knows your name and telephone number, but police wish to assure the public that threatening behaviour would not be made from a real government agency caller.

"It is relatively easy for any scammer to obtain somebody's name and phone number.
A simple white book query, checking social media online, or by social engineering means, such as convincing a friend of a friend to reveal some details," said NZ Police Chief Information Security Officer Paul Blowers.

"Police are not able to track these callers directly but depending on how they have configured their mobile phone, some details can be revealed.

"Equally, they can easily be hidden.

"To track callers down would require closer interaction with the service providers and probably require a special warrant to do so."

Police advice when receiving any call which could be demanding a payment:

• Seek validation of who the caller actually is. Always ask for a full name and the company or agency details.

• Validate the phone number of the caller and ask that they call you from a landline if they are using a mobile phone.

• Ignore calls from unknown mobile numbers.

• Don't share your personal details until you are convinced the caller is legitimate.

• If you are threatened, simply hang up - the IRD or any other government agency, Police or a crown entity will not threaten someone.

• Don't trust anyone who calls you and asks for your financial related information such as your account details and password - again simply hang up, call them on their published contact 0800 number or arrange a meeting at the relevant agency branch.

• When you do receive a call resulting in any threatening remarks, report it to the appropriate organisation(s):
Scamwatch (Ministry of Consumer Affairs)
DIA (Anti-Spam)
NetSafe - The Orb (Online scams)
NZ Police if criminal activity is evident.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs have information on a variety of scams.
Police encourage people to visit their website for more information at http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scams.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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