Canterbury Police have received 11 separate reports in relation to an alleged Meridian scam that has so far targeted elderly residents in Prebbleton, Mt Pleasant, Murray Hill, Rangiora, Riccarton and Somerfield.
Detective Sergeant Jennifer Hooke says police understand that one of the scammers phones the victims posing as a Meridian or other power company staff member. “They have then told the victims that their payments are not going through and requested PIN numbers and bank account details. After the call has finished another scammer knocks on the victim’s door posing as a bank employee to collect the ‘faulty’ cards and provides them with a replacement card and documentation. The replacement card is actually a pressie card.”
“From the information the victims have provided the scammers – at least one man and one woman – appear plausible and knowledgeable but can be pushy. Police estimate the scammers have obtained at least $20,000 from the 11 victims.”
The scammers appear to be targeting retired people living on their own or in retirement villages or rest homes.
“No reputable company will ask for your bank details, PIN numbers or other personal information over the phone or visit your home to collect ‘faulty’ cards. Police are following a positive line of inquiry into this matter but urge the public to report any similar events straight away,” explained Detective Sergeant Hooke.
“If someone phones you with a similar story take a note of their name and number and say you’ll phone them back. Look up the genuine number of the company the caller claims to represent and verify their identity. The same applies to any cold callers who turn up at your front door. Employees of reputable companies will provide you with identification and will not be offended if you leave them outside while you phone their employer.”
Notify your bank straight away if there is any chance the caller has obtained any bank information. Always report scams to the bank or power company and then report the matter to police together with any names, phone numbers or other information.
This is a timely reminder for everyone to think twice before giving out any personal information or bank card details out to anybody, says Detective Sergeant Hooke.
Police ask anyone who has been approached in a similar manner or notices any suspicious or fraudulent activity to report it straight it away by calling Christchurch Police Station on 363-7400.
Information can also be provided anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Category: Police Watch