"Just hang up" is the advice from Whanganui police to people targeted by phone scammers.
Sergeant Aaron Bunker said police were aware of a recent increase in the number of calls from international scammers to cellphones and landlines. The scammers are persistent and often ring multiple times.
"If you get a call from someone trying to elicit rewards or offering money, just hang up straight away," Mr Bunker said.
"I'd encourage families to speak to their elderly relatives about this to ensure they are not being targeted and so they are not caught out by a scammer."
Consumer Protection offers the following advice to reduce the risk of being scammed:
- Be suspicious. Scammers work hard to appear trustworthy, and it's good to do some research or thinking before you engage with a person or opportunity.
- Don't trust unexpected contact. Scams most often come through cold contact; for example, an unexpected phone call or email. Always take steps to find out more before considering any offers.
- Do your research. Use Google to look into the names of people or companies who approach you.
- Resist demands to act quickly. Anyone presenting a legitimate opportunity will allow you time to consider your response. If you feel under pressure, take some time — or turn it down.
- Keep your computer virus protection up to date. CERT NZ's website has advice for anyone wanting to improve their personal cyber security.
- Never open attachments or click on links in emails if words or images make you feel unsure about the sender. You have nothing to lose by deleting the email.
- Use different passwords for logging in to online services. If some of your information is compromised, you won't lose it all.
- Reserve the right to be impolite. Sometimes you need to be firm to keep yourself safe from scams. It's okay to say no outright if you have a bad feeling about something.