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Police warning over power payment scam

Police warning over power payment scam

Christchurch Police are again warning residents to be cautious about providing bank and credit card details over the phone after receiving reports of a phone scam involving electricity account payments.

In a variation on other phone scams reported recently, this one involves callers claiming to be offering a Red Cross "assistance payment".

Senior Sergeant Steve Bothamley, of Christchurch South Police, says in a recent case a resident contacted Police this week after being phoned by a caller claiming to be from electricity company Genesis Energy.

"The caller said they were offering a Red Cross assistance payment towards their power bill, as part of a scheme to help people with high electricity accounts.

"They gained the confidence of the resident and asked for credit card details to process the payment, which were passed on.

"The resident subsequently contacted Genesis and the Red Cross and established that the payment was bogus."

Both Genesis Energy and Red Cross have confirmed that no such scheme is currently operating, and that their staff would not call people and ask for their personal information over the phone.

Senior Sergeant Bothamley says there have been several similar incidents reported in recent weeks.

"It's distressing that scammers are continuing to take advantage of people who may be in difficult circumstances," he says.

"We continue to urge people to be cautious about any request to hand over credit card or bank account details over the phone, or via email.

"If people have any doubts they should check the authenticity of any such request with the organisation concerned directly.

"People can report or check out the latest scams at www.scamwatch.govt.nz. And we also encourage people to report suspicious calls to Police."

Senior Sergeant Bothamley says if people are concerned they have handed over bank or credit card details in suspicious circumstances they should contact their bank or credit card company as quickly as possible.


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