An elderly woman who was on the phone to a scammer for two hours hung up when he asked her to log in to her online bank account.
Christine Jones, who is in her 70s, was on the phone to Spark two weeks ago talking about her broadband. Moments after she hung up, the phone rang again, and a man with an Indian accent told her his name was Mark Rogers, and that he was the general manager of Telecom New Zealand.
"He had me going," Mrs Jones said.
The Springvale woman had an appointment to go to, but told the man to phone back later in the day. "He phoned and said, 'you're having a lot of trouble with your broadband'."
Mrs Jones then spent up to two hours on the phone with the man, who instructed her to put certain codes into the computer.
"He said, 'you've got a lot of viruses'."
Mrs Jones said she wasn't usually taken in by people, but believed the man because she'd been talking to Spark just before he called. He gave her an office address which she said did belong to Spark. "He had me on the computer, he had me putting in all these numbers and letters. He said he was emptying out viruses."
A message came up telling Mrs Jones she was being scammed from New York, and the man told her that was why he was cleaning up her computer.
She thought he might have vision of her computer screen, as he asked her to enter her online banking details. "When he said 'I'll turn my head away and I won't listen when you put your details in,' I thought 'yeah right'."
Mrs Jones hung up at that point, and didn't use her computer again until she could get it sent away and checked out by computer specialists.
"I consider this very, very serious. I feel, really, that you can't trust anybody," she said.
"It was just coincidental I had only just hung up [from Spark]."
She just wanted other members of the public to be aware, and was concerned for elderly people in particular who could be duped. "He's very plausible, he's very, very believable."
Mrs Jones was prompted to share her story after seeing a story in yesterday's Chronicle about Spark customers being the targets of phone scams.
Spark spokeswoman Lucy Fullarton said Spark would never ring a customer out of the blue. "The only reason we would call was if you had rung us.
"Customers should never give out personal information over the phone. If someone has inadvertently done this, call your bank immediately."
She said Spark was aware of the scam and had sent out an advisory notice on Friday.