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Police urge people to watch scamming video

Police urge people to watch scamming video

19 February 2014 - Police have developed a video resource to help older New Zealanders avoid scammers' tricks.

National Manager Crime Prevention, Superintendent Bruce Bird says people of all ages and backgrounds fall victim to false promises and fake offers. However older people can be particularly vulnerable.

Police are encouraging older people to have a look at the latest online video which has tips for avoiding scammers and their tricks.

Mr Bird said he hopes young people might also take the time to show their older relatives the video.

"You never know it might stop Mum, Dad or your Grandparents from falling for a scam.

"We've just seen Timaru Police urging caution after a number of local people lost hundreds of thousands of dollars to scammers," Mr Bird said.

"But this is certainly not a problem limited to Timaru, we hear from scam victims throughout New Zealand," he said.

Scammers will target older people for a number of reasons.

"Retirees may have spare capital for investment, they may be travelling more and booking holidays online, they may be new to online dating or buying goods online and this makes them vulnerable to online scams".

"Often they have cash on them and are more likely to be home during the day. This also makes them vulnerable to door-to-door scammers."

"We want to get the message out there that if something seems to good to be true it probably is and that people need to make sure an offer is genuine before they hand over money."

"Our community policing staff will use the video as a prevention resource in their communities which will help us reach those people who may not be on the internet, but who could fall for the more traditional scams such as the lotteries and inheritance letters."

"It's almost impossible to recover money If someone has already handed it over," said Mr Bird.

"That is why prevention is the best cure."

"If someone believes they have been scammed they should contact Police immediately. Even if we can't get the money back we can try and stop anyone else from becoming a victim."

People can also report scams by going to www.scamwatch.govt.nz.

Older people can also get support through Age Concern which has 23 Elder Abuse and Neglect Prevention Services around the country, with 55 staff available to provide intervention and advice to older people on topics relating to elder abuse and scams.

Mr Bird said the likelihood of the elderly becoming victims of crime remains low despite their growing population, but like the rest of us they need to be vigilant when it comes to protecting themselves against scams.

Check out the video on our police.govt.nz You tube channel (www.youtube.com/policenz)

Prevention tips
• The numbers and ways of being scammed is growing and it can seem daunting trying to weed the scams from bona fide offers.
• If something sounds too good to be true it usually is. Don't respond to letters or emails saying you won the lottery - you haven't - it is always a scam.
• If you are offered a deal or you are interested in investing in then you need to spend some time researching it to make sure it is genuine.
• Talk to people you can trust about it, friends and family or if it is an investment opportunity, a qualified financial expert. This may involve a fee, but it is better to have done this than to lose your life-savings.
• Don't get pressured into making a decision. If someone is offering you a bona-fide deal and they are genuine then they will wait for you to check it out - in fact they should encourage you to check it out.
• Remember it is unlikely you will get your money back once you have given it to a scammer.
• If you or someone you know has been scammed you need to report it as soon as possible.
• Go to scamwatch.co.nz to report a scam.
• If you have lost a large amount of money you should report it to Police as well. Unfortunately since many scammers operate from overseas it is unlikely we will be able to recover your money, but we can try and warn others about the scam.

ENDS

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