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Warning not to succumb to scams

Warning not to succumb to scams

If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. That's the warning being issued by Rotorua Police after recent reports of people succumbing to scams and parting with hard earned money.

Known as Upfront Payment scams, they begin with victims receiving a message that they are entitled to funds being held overseas and they need to part with a small amount of money to free up the funds.

Detective Senior Sergeant Zane Smith said: "Traditionally we have seen these scams associated to countries such as Nigeria but these recent ones appear to originate from Europe and the UK, They are also not just via the internet; we have seen victims receiving personal letters through the mail."

The scams are sophisticated and convincing with official looking paperwork and certificates often being provided to make the arrangement appear authentic.

"The reality is that if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. Under no circumstances should you part with any money or any personal information or bank details when randomly approached in this way; nor should you underestimate the lengths that some criminals will go to make fraud convincing."

Advice to protect yourself from upfront payment schemes

• Spam is the generic term for 'junk mail' messages via phones, letters or email that you haven't requested. Do not respond to these unsolicited messages.
• Never click 'unsubscribe' on a spam email as it tells spammers that you read to mail and increases the risk of you becoming a repeat target. Just delete or throw away messages.
• If you've parted with any money the only way the scam will stop is if you stop paying moment. It can seem convincing and can be tempting to see it through but there will be no money paid to you at the end no matter what the correspondence promises.
• Never agree to transfer money to someone you do not know.

This is just one of a host of scams. Some suggest you are a prize-winner and to claim the prize you need to provide personal information or advanced fees. Some pull on the heart strings with a medical emergency you can help with. Others masquerade as trustworthy organisations, sometimes even using the logos of banks, financial institutions and companies to obtain sensitive information. This is known as phishing.

To report a scam or to find out more about the different scams that exist and tips to protect yourself from them go to www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scamwatch.

© Scoop Media

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