Police are seeking a man who claimed to be a builder and conned a couple out of $25,000.
The man has also scammed other homeowners in the Rodney district north of Auckland.
Detective Constable John Taylor said the man recently advertised himself as a builder in the local Rodney Times newspaper.
"A Whangaparaoa couple who responded to the ad were given a quote for renovations to be done on their house. The man then requested the couple pay $25,000 into his account so that he could purchase materials and have them successfully delivered to the property," he said.
The man suggested that they contact an accountant who could endorse his credentials and verify his integrity. The couple phoned the accountant who satisfied them on the man's true identity and details.
They then transferred $25,000 into the man's account.
However, since then the couple have not heard from the supposed builder.
Mr Taylor said: "All efforts to contact him via a variety of avenues have been unsuccessful. Our inquiries reveal that another couple in the same area recently experienced a similar modus operandi by this man. On this occasion the couple gave him a $250 deposit.
"This person is preying on the vulnerability of home owners in the belief that because they have checked out his identity they're getting a tradesman whom they believe to be is honest and sincere. Sadly this is not the case here."
Police believe the bogus builder is posing as the accountant.
The man is described as Caucasian, aged 40, of medium build and 5'10" tall. He is clean shaven and has a strong Scottish accent.
"If there is anyone who believes they have been a victim of similar scamming by this suspect we want to hear from them. We believe this man may presently be carrying out similar scams in Tauranga," said Mr Taylor.
Master Builders chief executive Pieter Burghout said people could check the credentials of builders by asking for references.
"From our perspective it's easier if they are a Master Builder," Mr Burghout said.
But asking to view a house that the builder has worked on and checking with the owner of the house is one way to make sure you've got someone trustworthy, he said.
Mr Burghout said looking for an advertisement in the Yellow Pages to see if the person was committed enough to pay for advertising was another avenue.
He said up to 25 per cent of building work came through word-of-mouth and that was a good starting point.
* Information to Rodney CIB on 09 427 9829.
- NZHERALD STAFF