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Awareness Key to Protecting Yourself Against Fraud

Awareness Key to Protecting Yourself Against Fraud
New Zealand Police National News Release
3:00pm 4 March 2008

Police are welcoming Fraud Awareness Week and say that awareness is the key to protecting against scams which they expect to increase in New Zealand as technology advances.

Detective Sergeant Dave Kennedy at Police National Headquarters says the best way to prevent being ripped off is to recognise a scam before getting sucked in.

"It is almost impossible to retrieve money for people who have given it away offshore via the internet and needless to say impossible to repair the hurt done to someone who has become romantically involved with a scammer."

The saying "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is" should be applied by anyone approached out of the blue to give money or personal details to strangers making promises of riches, rewards or love on the internet.

Mr Kennedy said he expected internet scams to increase in New Zealand particularly with the increasing use of VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol).

"Being able to phone someone from anywhere in the world for the cost of an internet connection means that scammers will increasingly use phones as well as the internet to con people."

"A good rule of thumb to follow is the 'man on the street scenario'. If a man on the street came up to you and asked you nicely for your bank account number, or your phone number or any other personal detail - would you give it to him?"

"Most people, even the most vulnerable in society, would say no. Being approached on the internet or via the phone is the same," Mr Kennedy said.

People can protect themselves by not responding to offers or deals that sound too good to be true and never giving out personal details to someone who asks for them out of the blue.

Mr Kennedy encouraged people to report scams to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs' Scamwatch website at www.scamwatch.govt.nz.


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