Have you heard of this telephone scam?

We always like to keep you up-to-date on the latest scams so that you can stay fraud aware, so here’s one to keep an ear out for.

Yesterday Police issued a warning to beware of calls from people claiming to work for ‘Spark’. In recent weeks they’ve received a number of reports from people who have been scammed out of significant amounts of money following these calls. The callers will say they need to speak to you regarding issues with your ‘Spark’ account or computer. Our Investigators here in BNZ’s Financial Crime Management Centre have also been inundated with calls from customers who have experienced these types of calls.

Police reported that in the Tasman area, three elderly residents have been scammed out of a total of $120,000. Enquiries into the scams have discovered that in some of these cases the funds have been deposited into Australian bank accounts.

Just like BNZ, ‘Spark’ will never call customers out of the blue to ask for personal details like bank account, credit card, or internet banking details. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from ‘Spark’ who asks for your personal information you should immediately end the call. Your personal details are very valuable to offenders. They will use your information to take out loans or run up debts if they can.

If you believe you may be on the receiving end of one of these calls, Police advise the following:
• Hang up immediately
• If it doesn’t seem right, be cautious, double-check details first
• Look after your personal details in the same way you would your wallet and other possessions.

And be aware of common scams:
• Banks, Immigration New Zealand or Inland Revenue will never email, call or text you to ask for money to be sent using money transfer services
• Don’t trust anyone who calls you and asks for your financial related information, such as your account details and password.


So why is it the BNZ thinks it’s fine for their buddy Cigna to call up customers and represent they are calling from the BNZ? Why the hell did the BNZ even give them my contact details?

Even worse, the caller knew I had recently obtained something (From memory it was a replacement Visa debit card) and they provided this info to weasel their way into a conversation to try and sell me life insurance.

I am normally security conscious but I was expecting a call from BNZ at the time so I took the call at face value and handed over private information. Even then the caller continued with the charade and it wasn’t until about 1/2 way through the call I tweaked something was wrong and demanded to know who they were working for - at which time they admitted they worked for Cigna.

The BNZ made a right fool of me.

Disappointed to hear about this negative experience - I’ve checked with the Insurances team and they’ve confirmed that any call made on behalf of BNZ should be identified as such at the start. We can definitely investigate further to find out what went on in this instance if you’d like. Let me know and I will arrange someone from the team give you a call on Tuesday (it’s a long weekend in Auckland), they’ll be able to answer any questions you have about protocols etc.

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I advise all my customers to ignore any phone call from their bank, the IRD, or any computer business. This is because of all the scams out there, and also because my customers can never be 100% sure that the person on the phone is who they say they are. And as “michaelnz” has noted, even so-called business partners calling on behalf of BNZ can very easily sound like they are calling from BNZ based on private and personal information they have been given. - David (Kings Computers).