Colin Brown fell for a parcel delivery scam that is hitting mobile phones around the country, but after escaping with his bank balance intact, he has a warning for others.
Brown had been waiting for a parcel from China, so when a text message pinged on his phone asking for “missing postage fees”, the Nelson man had no hesitation in selecting the message’s link.
It was followed by a request of $1.50 for a “Customs shortfall”.
“I thought $1.50, you’ve got to be joking. So I sent out my Westpac credit card details and the transaction didn’t proceed.”
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To ensure the payment went through, Brown then used his ANZ card.
He got a text from ANZ querying the amount, which had been changed to “Euro 1,00”, and was prompted to call the bank if it raised suspicions.
“That’s when I twigged and thought, uh oh, I’ve been scammed.”
Afterwards he realised the text had an Australian country code, +61, which should have rung alarm bells.
Brown, 73 said he was relatively tech-savvy, using devices and the internet “all the time” so after discovering the scam he went online to put a stop on both cards.
“It’s quite easy being online with a computer, getting straight into your bank account details and putting a stop transaction on it straight away.”
Westpac was also quick to act, he said.
Westpac issued a new credit card and advised Brown to have ANZ do the same.
Westpac NZ spokesperson Will Hine said the automatic fraud monitoring system stopped a “suspicious transaction” on Brown’s account as it had “similarities to other fraudulent transactions that had been caught as part of a courier parcel phishing scam”.
“Our financial crime analyst who was sent the alert, blocked Mr Brown’s card and contacted him immediately to check the transaction.
“If someone suspects their banking details have been compromised, they should contact their bank immediately.”
Brown said he was “very lucky” the scam was picked up before he lost anything, and that he was able to jump online straight away to avoid the follow through from the scam.
“I feel so stupid. I hope others can heed the warning, don’t even go [the link] , just delete it.”
A Department of Internal Affairs spokesperson said at a time of year when many people are awaiting parcel delivery, it was a common text scam.
“It is one of the common scams we receive reports on.”
The spokesperson said if anyone believed they had a scam message, the advice was to check directly with the provider, using the phone number on their website, don’t click links, never provide any personal information such as bank details or credit card information, and if in doubt report it for free to 7726.