If something seems too good to be true then it probably is, that’s the message from Waikato Police, especially if that something is winning a competition you haven’t even entered.
Detective Mike Handley of the Waikato Fraud Squad says in this latest variation of a traditional scam the victim, an elderly Hamilton resident, was contacted via email from what appeared to be a legitimate international soft drink company.
“The man received an email congratulating him for winning the Coca Cola 2012 Promotion and stated he had won over 800,000 British Pounds.
“The email claimed to originate from the London office of Coca Cola and the man was asked to send via email a number of conformational personal details.”
Mike says a following email asked the man to send bank account and passport details and a third then requested he transfer a 420 British Pound administrative fee to a London based account with a Hong Kong bank.
Suspicious because he didn’t recall entering any competition of this nature the man contacted Police as well as the head office of The Coca Cola Company in the United States.
“The company’s head office advised they had no competition of this nature and also informed our victim that they were aware of hundreds of similar scams aimed at catching out the unwary.
“One of the key things here is the old message; ‘if it seems too good to be true it probably is’, often offenders involved in such activity target the elderly who, because of generational differences are sometimes more trusting of things they get through the internet than say a younger generation may be.”
Mike says generally companies advising people they have won a competition would have all their necessary contact details required because the person would have provided them when filling out the entry form.
“And they certainly aren’t in the practice of charging people administrative fees before they can claim their prizes, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs maintains an up to date database of different scams but if in doubt don’t hesitate to give police a shout.
“If you are the recipient of what you think is a bogus email, under no circumstances should you give out private details. Such details are sought by organised criminal groups for a range of offending from identity theft, money laundering and a variety of other related offending.”
Source: Waikato Police.