A man who described himself as "a mug" after being scammed out of almost $40,000 says banks have recovered more than half of the money taken from his accounts.

Brian Cotter told the Herald on Sunday about his cybercrime ordeal, saying he had lost the money after someone claiming they worked at Spark over the phone, gained access to his computer.

A week on the 88-year-old, who lives in a retirement home in Mt Maunganui, has managed to get $26,751 back - $17,751 with the help of BNZ and a further $9000 through Westpac.

Cotter initially told the Herald on Sunday he had up to $50,000 siphoned from his account but later said it looked to be more like $40,000.


"Despite getting back some of the money, it has been an expensive exercise. But it has been worth it to make the community more aware of such scams. The number of people who have now admitted that they had been scammed has been phenomenal," he said.

This included a 76-year-old woman from Te Puke who called him on Monday after reading about the scam.

"She had just put down the paper when the phone rang," said Cotter.

The woman told Cotter it was someone claiming to be from Spark, saying they were working in her street and warning she had been attacked by cyber-ransom – a phone call all too similar to the one Cotter received just over a week ago.

"She immediately thought of what she had just read and slammed down the phone. Then she took time to find my number to phone and say, 'you saved my life'."

Cotter said he has been called three times since he was scammed, by someone claiming to be from Spark. He has recorded the phone numbers and given them to police and Spark.

A spokeswoman from BNZ said they were unable to comment on the matter due to their duty to protect customers' privacy.