24 Aug 2018

Warning over phone scammers targeting bank customers

5:11 pm on 24 August 2018

Scammers pretending to be from Spark and a former police agency are targeting bank customers.

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Police are warning anyone who receive such calls to hang up immediately and report the incident Photo: 123rf.com

Police are warning of a recent incident where a person received a call from someone seeking access to their computer and bank account.

"[The caller told the person] their computer had been accessed illegally or used for criminal purposes," Detective Sergeant Damian Rapira-Davies said.

"Often it is older and more vulnerable members of our communities who are targeted and becoming victims of these scams."

The caller then transferred the person to the Organised and Financial Crime Agency of New Zealand (OFCANZ).

OFCANZ - now known as National Organised Crime Group - was an agency hosted within police to combat "serious and organised crime, including financial crime".

The "OFCANZ employee" then gave instructions to the person on how to allow access to their computer and bank accounts.

Police advised anyone who received such calls to not engage with the scammer, hang up immediately and report the incident.

They reminded people that government agencies would never ask for personal information over the phone without stringent verification procedures.

Government agencies would also never ask for PIN numbers or seek to access computers or bank accounts remotely, police said.

Spark also reminded its customers that it would never ask for passwords, credit card or bank details, and remote access to computers.

Spark channel leader Grant McBeath said the scammers had no relation to the company.

"They like to use our name because so many New Zealanders have a Spark account ... picking a company like us makes their story more plausible when you're already with Spark," he said.

Information on other scams that are currently operating can be found on the Consumer Protection NZ website.

Anyone who believes they are a victim of a scam, in person or online, should immediately report it to their bank, and then to their local police.

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