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Tuesday, July 23, 2024

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Fake Police scam: UK national arrested after nearly $300k lost

A Police investigation has turned the heat up on a cold-calling scammer claiming to be an officer.

In recent weeks, 18 Aucklanders have allegedly been duped out of more than a quarter of a million dollars.

Police have issued a recent advisory to the public about the scam in which victims receive a call to their landline phone, by someone pretending to be a Police officer and providing a fake badge number.

Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Bolton, from Auckland City’s Financial Crime Unit, says victims are told a story about needing their assistance with an investigation.

“The scam will always involve this so-called officer asking for financial information or asking you to withdraw cash to be collected as part of an investigation into banks,” he says.

On Monday, real Police officers caught up with the scammer following a foot chase through central Auckland.

Detective Senior Sergeant Bolton says a 25-year-old UK national was taken into custody.

Today, he was in the Auckland District Court on 22 charges of obtains by deception, attempting to obtain by deception and escaping custody.

Police opposed his bail.

“We will allege in court that this man, who only arrived in New Zealand in early June, was on his way at the time to collect more cash from a previous victim,” Detective Senior Sergeant Bolton says.

“Instead, real detectives turned up at the victim’s doorstep to advise him he was about to be scammed out of $20,000 in cash.

“Financial Crime investigators from all three policing districts’ fraud teams in [Auckland] have been working together to piece together this offending, and this is a great outcome.”

Aucklanders who fell victim of the scam were aged between 56 and 90, with the majority over 80.

“This man’s alleged actions betrayed the good-will of vulnerable and elderly members of our community,” Detective Senior Sergeant Bolton says.

The offender has victims from right across Auckland, with a total of $297,700 in cash lost.

Detective Senior Sergeant Bolton says enquiries are ongoing, and Police will work to recover as much of the cash as possible.

Please remember:

  • Police will never call to ask you for bank details, pin numbers or passwords
  • Police do not offer prize money
  • Police will not ask you to go to a bank to withdraw money
  • If you receive a call out of the blue of a similar nature: challenge the caller to identify themselves, ask for their details.
  • Hang up, contact 105 to verify the ID and request the officer to contact you
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

 

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Source:NZ Police

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