In brief

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SCAM WARN­ING

The New Zealand Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Fo­rum (TCF) is warn­ing con­sumers to be­ware of scam call­ers prey­ing on the vul­ner­a­ble and el­derly, in the wake of a se­ries of hoax calls pre­tend­ing to be from New Zealand telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions providers.

Po­lice have had nu­mer­ous re­ports of hoax calls over re­cent weeks; and over the week­end scammers claim­ing to work for telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pany Spark have suc­cess­fully scammed el­derly New Zealan­ders out of thou­sands of dol­lars.

The scammers con­tact the vic­tim, say­ing they need to speak to them about is­sues with their telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions ac­count or com­puter, and then ask for per­sonal and bank­ing in­for­ma­tion.

An Auck­land woman named Joan has re­ceived sev­eral hoax calls from the scammers.

She said they have rung her sev­eral times say­ing ‘‘this is Spark ring­ing about a prob­lem with your com­puter.’’

They warned her in­ter­net and phone con­nec­tions would be cut off by 5pm if she did not carry out what they asked her to do on her com­puter.

A spokesper­son from the TCF said: ‘‘The in­dus­try has strong poli­cies in place to pro­tect con­sumer in­for­ma­tion. 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.’’

‘‘This is not some­thing any New Zealand telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions provider would do un­der any cir­cum­stances.’’

The TCF ad­vises ‘‘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.

‘‘Un­der no cir­cum­stances pro­vide ac­cess to your bank, per­sonal or credit card in­for­ma­tion.’’

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

Visit, www.con­sumer­pro­tec­tion.govt.nz/get-guid­ance/scams-an­don­line-safety/scams

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