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Scammers use NZ numbers supplied by offshore companies

Rick Bourne of the Southern District Investigation Support Unit

Southern Police are urging members of the public to be cautious of mobile scammers who use New Zealand numbers to get to users.

Police are currently looking into two reports and there are others where scammers use NZ numbers to trick victims into their scam.

In this instance through a number advertised on a caravan sale.

Fraudsters, believed from abroad, acquire the right to use NZ phone numbers via companies that are offshore.

In this case the advertised number began 03 669 0--- giving it the appearance it was a phone based in New Zealand.

In this case the intended victim nearly parted with $13,500!

"You may have caller identification and even though the number showing on your screen may look like an NZ number, there's a possibility they could have been provided by an innocent company based offshore and provided to other businesses in the Asia Pacific market,' says Rick Bourne of the Southern District Investigation Support Unit.

"In another case, a victim was defrauded through a ‘Spark’ scam where the caller identified themselves as being from Spark.

The numbers used in this scam appeared to be from New Zealand and began prefixed with 098892--- which again gave the appearance that it was a call from a landline in NZ but the phone number was supplied by an offshore company to another business, which may have been unknowingly involved.

This scam was followed up with calls from mobile numbers prefixed with +61 and +44."

Members of the public are advised to always check to see if the numbers advertised or displayed on their devices are linked offshore.

“Even if the caller display shows +64, it does not mean the caller is calling you from New Zealand.

In any event do not trust a phone call unless you know the person or company at the end.

If in doubt go online and check the real contact number for the company," says Rick.

"Legitimate companies should have a 0800 number so you can ring it for free.

Don't assume a number is being used by someone who is actually in NZ just because it has a +64 code.

These scammers also use +61 as well as +44 codes (Australia and UK respectively) as well as others like America and other parts of the world and they do not have to be in those countries to make these calls."

This is a variation on previous scams seen by Police and it's really important that people are wary and know what to look out for as this is the best way to protect themselves.

Police want everyone to ‘Be safe’ and ‘Feel safe’ as these offences have an impact on a person’s financial and mental wellbeing.

Please report any call you believe to be a scam by ringing 105 with the details of the number and time of the call.

“Please do not be the next victim.

Never give remote access to your computer or other device no matter what the caller tells you.

Together we can combat this so talk about it with your friends and family.

The young and elderly are more at risk but we have had a range of ages duped.

Awareness is key!" says Rick.

Information on other scams that are currently operating can be found on the Consumer Protection NZ website: https://www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/general-help/scamwatch (link is external)

Anyone who believes they are a victim of a scam, in person, over the phone or online, should immediately report it to their bank, and then to their local Police by ringing 105 or reporting it online.


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