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Act fast if you suspect online fraud, say police

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When it comes to online fraud, the first 24 hours after the incident are critical according to investigating officers.

Detective Sergeant Mike Freeman of Canterbury Police urges anyone who has been the victim of fraud to act fast when it comes to reporting the incident to their bank and Police.

“Some people will try to fix the problem themselves before seeking help and may inadvertently get themselves deeper in a hole,” says Detective Sergeant Freeman.

“It’s important to contact your bank first, then Police, as soon as you realise you’ve been the victim of fraud, to give us the best chance of catching the offender and helping you recover your losses.”

“Due to much of our banking being undertaken via mobile apps and computers, you need to act quickly and phone your bank as soon as you suspect you have been the victim of a fraud.”

“Your bank – depending on what the offenders have done – has the best chance of retrieving your funds from disappearing locally or overseas – we have seen examples of this where the victim has realised straight away that something wasn’t right, and the banks have managed to retrieve all or part of the victim’s funds.”

In the last 12 months Canterbury Police has investigated a large number of fraud cases, and arrested and charged a significant number of offenders and placed them before the courts. A number of the offenders had committed multiple frauds.

“Canterbury Police has a dedicated fraud squad of six officers, who definitely punch above their weight,” says Detective Sergeant Freeman.

“We can’t do it all, but we give it a good go.”

“The team is currently investigating and prosecuting people involved in fraud connected to Enduring Powers of Attorney, and other business fraud involving shareholder funds. In the last twelve months we have also seen a number of cases involving employees defrauding their employers, where reparations of between $30,000 to $80,000 have been ordered.”

In addition to investigating reports of fraud, the team proactively undertake educational visits to organisations, to provide advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

“An important thing to remember is that if something seems too good to be true, then there’s a good chance it is. And if you are talking to someone you don’t know and they ask you to download a program onto your device – don’t. It is likely to be a remote access program that gives anyone access to your device and dramatically increases your chances of being the victim of a fraud.”

“We also want victims to know that there is no shame in making a report – your report could be the thing which helps us locate an offender and bring them before the courts.”

If you believe you are or have been the victim of fraud, contact Police at 105.police.govt.nz , or call Police on 105 and report the matter.

There are several NZ Government websites that have information and advice to help avoid falling victim to common fraudulent activity and scams.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has more information on how you can prevent yourself, family and friends from being scammed.

The Financial Markets Authority provides helpful advice on its website to help avoid falling victim to online investments scams.

CERT NZ provides advice on how to respond to an avoid cyber security incidents.

Image credit: Soumil Kumar

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Source:NZ Police

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