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Canterbury police scam and fraud team kept busy for 2022

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Canterbury police have been kept busy with fraud and scam investigations this year, and are asking people to report anything dodgy straight away
Photo: 123RF

Canterbury police say 2022 has been a big year for fraud and scam investigations, and they’re issuing a reminder to keep banking details safe and secure and to report fraud immediately, to help minimise the damage.

The area has six officers working on fraud that have been being kept busy, Detective Sergeant Mike Freeman said.

“In the last 12 months Canterbury Police … investigated a large number of fraud cases, and arrested and charged a significant number of offenders and placed them before the courts. A number of the offenders had committed multiple frauds.

“In the last twelve months we have also seen a number of cases involving employees defrauding their employers, where reparations of between $30,000 to $80,000 have been ordered.”

Acting Detective Sergeant Mike Freeman with a counterfeit $20 note.

Detective Sergeant Mike Freeman

This year they also looked into cases of fraud by people with Enduring Powers of Attorney status, and business fraud involving shareholder funds, Freeman said.

Their top tip for 2022 was a warning that anyone who suspected they had been the victim of online fraud should get in touch with their bank immediately.

“The first 24 hours after the incident are critical … some people will try to fix the problem themselves before seeking help and may inadvertently get themselves deeper in a hole,” Freeman said.

“It’s important to contact your bank first, then police, as soon as you realise you’ve been the victim of fraud, to give us the best chance of catching the offender and helping you recover your losses.

“Your bank – depending on what the offenders have done – has the best chance of retrieving your funds from disappearing locally or overseas – we have seen examples of this where the victim has realised straight away that something wasn’t right, and the banks have managed to retrieve all or part of the victim’s funds.”

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Let the bank know straight away if you think someone has defrauded you of money – and then let the police know, Detective Sergeant Mike Freeman said.
Photo: 123RF

Members of the the Canterbury police fraud team also visit groups to teach people about keeping safe from fraud.

“An important thing to remember is that if something seems too good to be true, then there’s a good chance it is,” Freeman said.

“And if you are talking to someone you don’t know and they ask you to download a program onto your device – don’t. It is likely to be a remote access program that gives anyone access to your device and dramatically increases your chances of being the victim of a fraud.”

“We also want victims to know that there is no shame in making a report – your report could be the thing which helps us locate an offender and bring them before the courts.”

Freeman said anyone who believed they could have been a victim of fraud should contact police by calling 105 or through the police website

He also recommended visiting a handful of local government sites to learn more about keeping safe from scams, including the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s website with pages like their top five tips list), Consumer Protection’s Scamwatch site, or the Financial Markets Authority for advice about keeping safe from investment scams.

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