US scam tar­gets H&J


The doors will re­main open at stores run by one of New Zealand’s largest pri­vately owned re­tail­ers, de­spite on­line re­ports to the con­trary.

A fake news­cast video mak­ing the rounds on so­cial me­dia, re­port­ing to be from United States based news com­pany Fox News, claims H&J Smith, which has depart­ment stores in In­ver­cargill, Dunedin, Queen­stown, Gore, Bal­clutha, Te Anau, and Mos­giel, was clos­ing.

The news­cast fea­tures in­ter­views with wor­ried Amer­i­cans, con­cerned for H&J Smith’s staff fol­low­ing the clo­sure of the stores, and pho­to­graphs of the re­tailer’s stores in In­ver­cargill and Gore. The scam, which ap­peared on­line last week, of­fered a free sam­ple to cus­tomers.

H&J Smith chief ex­ec­u­tive John Green said the com­pany was con­tacted by sev­eral cus­tomers who had seen the scam on their on­line news feeds and the com­pany posted a state­ment on its own so­cial me­dia pages, re­as­sur­ing cus­tomers that its stores were not clos­ing.

‘‘It’s just dis­ap­point­ing that peo­ple take it upon them­selves to cre­ate con­fu­sion for cus­tomers.

‘‘It’s just a mis­chief maker and if I catch up with them then we will have words.’’

While there was still com­ment about the scam on so­cial me­dia, feed­back from cus­tomers on the shop floor had been min­i­mal.


H&J Smith depart­ment store in In­ver­cargill.

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