26 May 2014

Rural communities warned over scam

7:59 am on 26 May 2014

Police are warning people not to get sucked in by what they say is a sophisticated scam that's been targeting rural communities.

The scam involves tickets turning up in the mail advising the recipient that they've won a travel prize of significant value.

To claim their prize the supposed winner just has to get in contact with companies based in Asia who ask them to send money to help get their winnings released.

Police are aware that people in Southland and Otago have been targeted by the scam with those hit losing $2000 to $200,000 each.

Police are aware that people in Southland and Otago have been targeted by the scam with those hit losing $2000 to $200,000 each. Photo: PHOTO NZ

A detective with the Financial Crime Unit in Auckland, Maree Stevenson, said that was when the scam really gets rolling.

"And there's always another reason: the money's just one step away. You just have to send me another three, four thousand, and the problem is, the money that's sent through these money transfers, once that money goes overseas, you will not get it back. The police can't do anything. It's gone, untraceable."

Detective Stevenson said she was aware of people in Southland and Otago being targeted recently.

Police believe those scammed have lost between $5000 and $200,000 each.