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Staying safe from scams

File photo.

Police are urging people to have a think about staying safe from scams.

A number of scams have been reported to Police recently, both online and over the phone.

Police say that a victim had $6,000 taken from them after malicious software was installed on their computer by a scammer pretending to be from Spark.

“This is a variation on previous scams seen by Police, where the scammer claims to be from a widely recognised organisation in order to appear legitimate.

“Please remember that legitimate organisations will never contact you out of the blue and ask for your password, credit card or bank details.”

These scams run constantly and while most people will not respond or buy into them, some people are more vulnerable.

Detective Sergeant Nik Leigh says scammers do not discriminate.

“The victims range from the elderly, vulnerable people, legitimate businesses and customers,” says Nik.

“The point is that all types of people and entities are being targeted and the techniques used to target them are equally varied.

"For many victims their life savings are stolen which understandably is hugely traumatic and leaves them feeling very unsafe.”

One incident involved tens of thousands of dollars taken from a couple building a home.

Fraudulent email addresses and private information were used to scam the couple into paying the scammer instead of their builder.

Police ask that incidents where money has been paid should be reported to your bank immediately, and then Police.

“We urge people to have conversations with vulnerable or elderly family members, to help ensure they are aware of the tactics often used by scammers and don't become victims,” says Nik.

“Police’s message on scams like these is simple – do not engage with anyone on the phone or online if you think you are being scammed – hang up or cease contact immediately and report the incident.

“Prevention is key. Police strives to improve its services with a focus on prevention first, and making sure our victims know where to get help is vital.

“Education remains key to preventing these types of offences,” says Nik.

Netsafe have resources to help people be safe online. Police work with partner agencies to ensure victims get the best outcomes possible.

Further prevention advice is available on the NZ Police website and Netsafe.org.nz.

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