A combination of bad timing and slick-talking saw “Maureen” send $9,000 to scammers.
Maureen (not her real name) lives in a Central North Island town and was taken in by fraudsters after they convinced her that her computer had been infected by a virus.
“They ring up quite often but I usually ignore them,” Maureen said.
This time however, they said they were from Vodafone and, by chance, Maureen was a Vodafone customer and had recently been talking to the real company.
They convinced her that she had a virus on her computer and she provided remote access.
“They said that under the rules and regulations they had been overcharging me and they had to refund the money. They said that they owed me $500, instead of putting $500 in they put in $5,000”
They convinced Maureen she would have to repay the $4,500 they had overpaid via internet banking.
“I got the call from Westpac almost immediately after that saying that they were scammers. I thought God, no, what have I done?”
The scammers had cleared out Maureen’s credit card to “overpay” her and she had transferred it to them.
Westpac was able to stop about two-thirds of the transaction but $3,500 had already gone.
Maureen’s advice to people: “As soon as you hear someone talking about it, put the phone down on them. Tell them in not so polite words where to go!”
Maureen said she had received many such calls but this time the people got lucky that she happened to have the right type of phone.
“They know the right buttons to push – there’s some clever people, but evil people, out there.”