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Con artists target scam victim

Published: 4:12PM Tuesday March 02, 2010 Source: NZPA

Police have reissued warnings about Nigerian con artists after an attempt was made to scam a woman who had previously been a fraud victim.

The scammers targeted the woman by pretending they were investigators from the Organised and Financial Crime Agency (OFCANZ), looking into her case.

OFCANZ head Assistant Commissioner Malcolm Burgess says the scammers sent the woman an email asking her to pay more money to help with the investigation.

"Fortunately the victim was suspicious of the unofficial looking emails, bad grammar and broken English, and reported it to police," Burgess says.

"We don't know of anyone else who has been targeted by this particular scam, but would encourage people to ignore any such email and report it to police."

The scam came at the start of Fraud Awareness Week to help educate the public about how to protect themselves against con artists.

Burgess says that the scam was particularly nasty, given that the intended victim in this case had already lost money through a scam perpetrated by the same people.

"(Scammers) are not above trying to pass themselves off as law enforcement agencies. They will say anything if they think it will persuade someone to start handing over personal details and cash.

"However, people should know that no New Zealand law enforcement agency would ever contact people in this way and certainly would not ask for money to help with an investigation."

The best course of action to take was to ignore the emails as replying would provide the scammer with contact details.

"If you don't respond they don't know you exist and they can't take your money."

Burgess says although police were investigating the OFCANZ email, inquiries like this were difficult because the offenders were operating outside New Zealand.