3 Feb 2016

Inheritance scam leaves woman $20k poorer

6:01 pm on 3 February 2016

A New Zealand woman is more than $20,000 out of pocket after falling victim to an online scam.

Department of Internal Affairs spokesperson Maarten Quivooy said scammers posing as a terminally ill widow contacted the New Zealander on Facebook saying she would be made the beneficiary of the dying woman's will.

The victim started paying money to release the inheritance after the purported death of the widow, paying more than $20,000.

When she stopped making payments she received a false letter which threatened extradition to Dubai unless she kept making payments.

Mr Quivooy said the scam demonstrated the lengths scammers would go to in pursuit of their victims.

"Incidents like this are carried out by highly organised groups or individuals overseas who target their victims and earn their trust through a series of well-executed communications backed up by seemingly credible documentation."

The matter had been reported to the police and Consumer Affairs.

NetSafe's incident statistics from last October to December 2015 showed 2186 online incidents reported by New Zealanders, who incurred a total loss of $3,146,284 nationwide.

They related to online scams and frauds, privacy breaches, online trading complaints, computer system attacks and objectionable material.

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