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Dunedin police are helping Interpol investigate an international scam which has duped Otago people.
''Dunedin police are currently investigating what appears to be a highly sophisticated, international cybercrime scam,'' Senior Sergeant Mel Aitken, of Dunedin, said last night.
''People in Otago have been affected by it, although we don't know how many at this stage. It is quite a big deal, apparently. It's a big international scam.''
The scam involved online advertising of holiday home accommodation in New Zealand.
''The scam involves hackers purporting to be the online listing agency and then requesting verification details from the person listing the home which, if completed by the 'listee', then allows the hacker access to their emails relating to the listing of the property,'' Snr Sgt Aitken said.
''Anybody then making and paying for a booking or communicating with who they believe is the homeowner is, in fact, the international scammer,'' she said.
People should be cautious when providing financial details over the internet.
''It's a warning. Don't give out your personal details on the internet. If it appears dodgy, then it probably is. Ensure you are 100% sure of what you are transmitting over the internet in terms of personal details, account and pin numbers.''
Interpol was assisting New Zealand police with the scam, which was believed to have cheated ''thousands of dollars from people making bookings throughout New Zealand'', Snr Sgt Aitken said.