Coun­cil snaps card fraud­ster

Waikato News - - Front Page - Danielle Ni­chol­son

A Hamil­ton City Coun­cil credit card was used to make fraud­u­lent pur­chases from Fur­ni­ture City, an on­line gam­bling out­let, 2 De­grees, and an Auck­land ho­tel to the tune of $1711.

But the dis­crep­an­cies were picked up by coun­cil staff just five days later and have since been re­funded by BNZ through their dis­puted trans­ac­tions process. Coun­cil’s Au­dit and Risk Com­mit­tee dis­cussed in­ves­ti­ga­tion of the fraud­u­lent trans­ac­tions be­hind closed doors on Tues­day.

Coun­cil’s gen­eral man­ager cor­po­rate, David Bryant, said an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion found the card­holder was un­aware of the sit­u­a­tion un­til they spot­ted the un­usual trans­ac­tions.

“They re­sponded quickly and ef­fec­tively to can­cel the card and es­ca­late the is­sue,” said Mr Bryant. “The in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion found they were not in­volved in the fraud and I’m proud of how my staff re­sponded when they iden­ti­fied the un­usual card trans­ac­tions.”

Mr Bryant said all of the pur­chases were made with­out the ac­tual card.

“It is sus­pected that the card de­tails were ac­cessed through data min­ing on­line.

“The in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion has iden­ti­fied that no staff mem­bers are in­volved and there is no sus­pi­cion that the card holder is in­volved.”

The mat­ter has been re­ported to the po­lice who are in­ves­ti­gat­ing. Po­lice have told coun­cil that it is “ex­tremely un­likely that the card was ac­cessed at the coun­cil or in­volves coun­cil staff or con­trac­tors”.

Mr Bryant said the fact the sus­pi­cious trans­ac­tions were picked up in the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s ac­count­ing sys­tem means their fi­nan­cial sys­tems are work­ing.

The unau­tho­rised pur­chases took place be­tween June 9 and 11 and they showed up in the ac­count­ing sys­tem within five days. The staff mem­ber es­ca­lated the is­sue when it was seen on June 16. Mr Bryant said the mat­ter was dealt with in the pub­lic ex­cluded part of the meet­ing be­cause the re­port in­cluded var­i­ous pieces of in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing CCTV images of faces and li­cence plate num­bers.

“Un­til the po­lice com­plete their in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pos­si­ble con­vic­tion, it is not ap­pro­pri­ate to re­lease this in­for­ma­tion to the pub­lic do­main.”

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