"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.

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"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.