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Scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their approaches to steal money from consumers. Always be alert when you receive calls from unknown or blocked phone numbers.

Beware of any requests made by phone for money or personal details. Scammers may ask for a contribution to a charity or masquerade as customer service from your bank, utility provider or tech support.

You should never receive a genuine phone call requesting your credit card number or personal information. If you receive an unexpected phone call, be cautious and return the call, dialling a registered number for your provider. It may be inconvenient, but it minimises risk and protects you against phone fraud.

Below are examples of some of the most common types of scam calls being received by consumers in New Zealand:

"Wangiri" (One Ring and Cut) Fraud

Wangiri calls are typically missed calls from an overseas number, with the caller hanging up after one ring or less, before the receiver can answer. The intention of the scammer is to entice you to call back the number upon seeing a missed call. If you do call back the number, once connected you may be charged at premium rates, while a message plays to entice you to stay on the line as long as possible.

A variation on the Wangiri scam happens when an operator answers when you return the missed call, purports to be from a trusted organisation, and then attempts to collect personal information or payment details by fraudulent means.

More information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wangiri

http://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2017/04/had-calls-from-a-weird-overseas-number-lately-here-s-why.html
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"Technical Support" Scam

Typically made from a number made to look vaguely like a New Zealand calling code, technical support scammers will often purport to be from a trusted provider (such as Microsoft or Spark) to gain control or access to your computer. Once access is granted it can then be used to steal personal information in order to commit identity fraud, or to enable other illegal activity, or to sell unnecessary and overpriced “support packages” to the victim.

More information:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Technical_support_scam

https://www.netsafe.org.nz/can-i-trust-cold-calling-pc-technical-support-companies/

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“Government Grant” Scam

If you receive a call from someone offering free money in the form of a Government grant or similar, this may be a scammer, and the grant may be fictitious. A scam caller will then try to gain your personal information, and often direct payments, in the form of Western Union, iTunes voucher codes, or similar non-refundable and difficult to trace methods.

More information:

https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/learn-grants/grant-fraud/grant-related-scams.html

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“Inland Revenue” Scam

Calls made from someone claiming to be from the IRD, and attempting to collect payment over the phone, may be made by scammers. The best procedure is to hang up and contact the IRD directly, to ensure you avoid scammers while keeping current with any tax obligations.

More information:

http://www.ird.govt.nz/identity-security/scam/scam-alert.html

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“Telco provider” Scam

Calls made from someone claiming to be from your telco provider, and attempting to collect payment over the phone on billing arrears, may be made by scammers. Consumers should beware of anyone who asks for bank account details, internet banking access information, credit card numbers or asks them to perform unusual actions on their computer. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be your telecommunications provider, hang up immediately and then phone your provider directly on their published 0800 number to check on the status of your account.

More information:

www.consumerprotection.govt.nz/get-guidance/scams-and-online-safety/scams

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Community Scam

Multiple incidents of phone scams have been recorded within local communities, where scammers have inside knowledge of victims’ families. Consumers should beware of anyone who calls them claiming to be from the Police, and asks for cash or instant payment via other means such as iTunes vouchers, for the release of family members in custody. If you receive a suspicious call, do not engage with caller, but hang up immediately and report the suspicious call to the Police.
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Last Modified On Friday, 15 December 2017