Police warn of sophisticated phone scam

Sergeant Rebecca PEPERE from Eastern District Police would like to remind the public to be wary following a report of a sophisticated phone scam.

A Gisborne woman reported the scam on Wednesday 6 March, which involved an individual claiming to be from IRD, advising their victim that they had an amount of tax owing, and a warrant to arrest for tax fraud. The woman was told she could be arrested and taken before the court, or settle the incident outside of court. It is concerning that the victim then received a call showing Gisborne Police as the caller ID: 06 869 0200. The woman was transferred to a ‘Sergeant Nathan Raymond Shaw’, a fake name, who threatened the woman with arrest if she did not comply. The victim was told she had 24-hours to organise childcare if she had children. The victim asked a number of questions, and reported that the answers were very convincing. The scammers had personal information about their victim. Thankfully, she contacted Police before the scam went too far.

This is a variation on previous scams seen by Police, where the scammer claims to be from a widely recognised organisation in order to appear legitimate. These scams run constantly and while most people will not respond or buy into them, some people are more vulnerable. We urge people to have conversations with vulnerable or elderly family members, to help ensure they are aware of the tactics often used by scammers and don’t become victims. Please remember that government agencies will never contact you out of the blue and ask for your password, credit card or bank details. Police’s message on scams like this is simple – do not engage with anyone on the phone if you think you are being scammed – hang up immediately and report the incident.

If you are in doubt as to a caller’s legitimacy, ask if you can call them back, or just hang up.

Anyone who believes they are a victim of a scam, in person, over the phone or online, should immediately report it to BNZ on 0800 ASK BNZ (275 269) or +64 4 924 0499.

1 Like

What a lucky escape!

I can’t understand how these scammers can get local telephone numbers. Why are they legally able to get them? Governments worldwide need to put a stop to it, including being able to spoof the number from overseas phones. There must be literally world wide billions of dollars being scammed each year.