Warning on phone scammers

Dunedin police and Netsafe are urging caution after an 89-year-old man was reportedly scammed out of $19,000 over the phone.

Senior Sergeant Craig Dinnissen, of Dunedin, said the elderly man reported the scam to police on Friday, having received a call that same day.

A female rang him claiming to be a Spark Telecommunications representative.

She told the man he had a virus on his computer and that she would help him fix it.

He followed her instructions.

About 30 minutes into the conversation, the woman switched with a man, who then asked for Visa details, his driver's licence number and mobile number.

The man provided all the information requested.

"They also talked him through installing Team Viewer software on his phone."

Snr Sgt Dinnissen said police were aware of the Spark scam, with numerous people tricked into supplying private details.

Netsafe CEO Martin Cocker said since March, it had noticed an overall increase in cyber criminal activity.

"That’s continued on. It hasn’t subsided."

"Scammers have been taking advantage of people working from home and being at home more."

The particular phone scam was common but scammers had recently begun to take higher amounts of money, he said.

"Over time they’ve changed their model and instead of taking a couple of hundred dollars they’re taking a lot more.

"Scammers have done a lot of work making their role believable."

He encouraged people to think twice before they handed over bank details.

"The second they ask for your financial information, say hold on a moment and double check their details and that it’s real."



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