5 Jul 2019

Two people arrested over phone scam

10:11 am on 5 July 2019

Police have arrested two people in relation to a phone scam that has seen Auckland residents losing thousands of dollars.

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Photo: 123rf.com

A 28-year-old woman and a 26-year-old man have been charged with money laundering and were due to appear in the Auckland District Court on Friday.

Detective Sergeant Kevin Blackman said mainly older people had been targeted in a "sophisticated" scam and were almost always contacted initially on their landline phones.

The caller usually pretended to be from Spark or police and claimed there was a security or internet issue with the victim's computer or router. The person would be told they were subject to identity theft or fraud and convinced to withdraw or transfer tens of thousands of dollars from their bank accounts.

Mr Blackman said police had received hundreds of phone calls since a public appeal for information.

He said police were working through the information "but it is evident that a large number of our community have been targeted" and police had had more reports of people handing over significant amounts of money.

Police were also working with banks and couriers to see if they had noticed any suspicious behaviour and Mr Blackman urged them to be extra vigilant with customers who may be particularly vulnerable or were withdrawing large sums of money "which may be an unusual pattern of behaviour for them as a customer".

Mr Blackman said anyone with information should contact the police.