With the festive season fast approaching it is time to provide a pre holiday season update. Over the holidays Community Law Marlborough office will be closed from 23rd December and will re-open on the 6th January 2016 at 8.30am. Our first 6 months of our financial year have been extremely busy so the staff deserve a well earned break, we hope that you also get a break.
So from us to you meri kirihimete
Hot Topic - Scams
While the internet and email scams receive a lot of publicity, scammers take a variety of approaches to lure their victim. This article is designed for those who are more susceptible to non internet based scams, and suggests some simple ways to avoid being scammed.
As the festive season fast approaches it seems timely to provide an update on what to look out for and how to stay safe.
Published on Stuff recently was this unfortunate tale of a Waimate pensioner who lost $27,000.00 to a scammer. In this case the scammers called the Waimate pensioner and pretended they were from IRD, saying the Government was going to reward the pensioner for paying tax on time and requested personal information. A call such as this can seem quite flattering. We would all
welcome a financial reward and having the government recognize our punctual tax payments would be a nice thing for the government to do.
For some, the flaws with this proposal are obvious. It is unlikely the IRD would cold call someone in such circumstances; in addition it is dubious the IRD would offer a reward. Finally the request for personal information is suspicious. The art of the scammer though, is that while their scam may be obvious to some, to others the scheme they present is totally believable.
Scammers target a wide range of people and use sophisticated means to hook the recipient. They may identify themselves as representing a trusted brand or present a mockup of a government department website or information. As I write, a CLM staff member purported to have won 2nd prize in Blueberry Hill Tours 11th Anniversary amounting to a sum of USD $165,000.
The information arrived in an envelope postmarked Malaysia, but without a return address; the first clue this was a scam. A glossy brochure was enclosed, but upon reading it the grammar was poor and not what would be expected of a commercial company with an apparently first class reputation. The winning ticket itself asked the recipient to contact the travel company for further information. On the reverse the ticket advised winners may be "obliged to submit taxes or any other mandatory charges as a result of the award". Furthermore the ticket advised "winners between 1st and 3rd prizes are obliged to produce required information for further verification". The further information required was not specified. The best place for this mail is the rubbish bin!
If you dont use the internet or email you will not be exposed to cyber scams. But scammers use a variety of methods to perpetrate their scams including txt and fax, as well as phone and post. So what can you do to protect yourself? The very first thing to do when being approached is to be suspicious, ask your self could this be a scam? Be alert if something comes through the post and no sender is identified.
Other clues which suggest the communication is a scam include use of generic salutations, spelling or grammatical errors, the sender is unknown or not identified, you are contacted by a bank you don’t have an account with, you are advised to act quickly to claim money or a prize in a lottery or competition you have never entered, you inherit money or possessions from someone you have never heard of or a stranger asks for your help, usually to send money.
The difficulty with scams is they appear genuine; however being suspicious may be your best protection. You will lose nothing but time if you check out the contact details of the person who has approached you. Alternatively say you will call them back. Community law Marlborough is only a phone call away on 0800 266 529 or 577 9919. Age concern also has information available on how to protect yourself from being scammed and can be contacted via telephone.
Our Lunchtime law at the Library have ceased for this year but don't worry we are planning a new program ready to roll out in Feb 2016.
Check out our website for details of the program.
Lunchtime law is aimed at members of the public and is free to attend. Many of these sessions will be hosted by guest presenters who are expert in theses areas of law, so make sure you get along to the Marlborough District Library to have all your questions answered on these topical issues!!