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Scam callers preying on vulnerable

Scammers pretending to work for telcos and power companies are targeting elderly and vulnerable people, with three Tasman residents alone losing $120,000.

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One woman, Joan, said she received several calls from people claiming to be from Spark and able to help with a problem with her computer. They warned her internet and phone connections would be cut off by 5pm if she didn't do what they said needed to happen.

Victims of scammers posing as power company reps have been told they have an unpaid bill and their electricity will be cut off if they don’t pay immediately. The scammer then pretends to arrange a representative from the person’s bank to speak with them, persuading them to hand over bank account details and passwords.

Police have been notified about the calls. Most of the cases reported to Police have involved SBS Bank customers who have an Xtra email account.

Industry body the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum says telcos will never call customers asking for bank account details and passwords.

If you’ve been stung by these scammers and handed over bank details, contact your bank immediately. Fraudulent credit card transactions can sometimes be reversed. Report it to Police as well.

Anyone who believes they’ve been targeted by the scam should report it to the Consumer Protection Scamwatch website.

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