Manurewa Police and the New Zealand Banker’s Association are warning householders about a recent spate of thefts of handbags from homes.
Offenders tend to target addresses where residents are on the property gardening or hanging out washing but have left front doors unlocked or open.
Offenders enter the home to steal handbags and/or contents then come up with convincing schemes to get victims to divulge PIN numbers.
Banks will never ask you by telephone or email for your secure banking information like PIN numbers, account or credit card details or passwords.
The most recent incident in the suburb occurred on Tuesday in The Gardens. A woman in her 70s was outside gardening when she noticed a female enter her house uninvited.
When she confronted the visitor she told the victim she had run into the house chasing after an offender who had stolen the victim’s purse. The stranger pretended to call Police for the victim...and the bank. When she did the latter, she persuaded the victim to give out her pin number so she could "relay it to the bank".
The female then distracted the victim before leaving the property. Within half an hour she had stolen $3,000 from the victim’s bank accounts. Later that night further attempts were made to access the account.
The best advice, say Manurewa Police is to lock your front door or garage if you’re outside in the garden or, for whatever reason you can’t see who might be accessing your property while you’re busy on a different level of the house.
Callers purporting to be from your bank may sound very convincing but it pays to err on the side of caution. Don’t give out your personal details over the ’phone - to anyone. If you have concerns, call your bank directly and seek advice about the call you’ve had.
Some helpful safety tips:
• Know your bank telephone numbers and have them written in a handy place.
You can get these from your phone book or the bank internet sites.
• If someone knows your PIN, contact your bank immediately.
• Treat your cards like cash.
• Always sign your new banking or credit card as soon as you get it.
• Check your bank statements regularly to make sure they match the
transactions you made.
• Never share, write down or tell anyone your PIN number, access codes or
• If you haven’t automatically received a reissued credit card before the
current one expires, contact your bank immediately.
• Be wary of anyone offering to help - especially if your card has just
been retained (eaten) by the ATM.
• When entering your PIN number at ATMs and EFTPOS terminals, shield the
PIN pad with your other hand. Criminals may ‘skim’ your card details by attaching a device to the card reader, and then ‘shoulder surf’ or use hidden cameras to record your PIN
• If your card has been retained by an ATM, go to the nearest branch or
call your bank immediately. Most banks have an 0800 number for these types of incidents. Make sure you know it.
• Remember, Police and bank staff will never contact you directly asking
you to confirm your PIN, online access code, online password or Netcode token serial number.
If you receive a call from someone like this, please call Police immediately.
If you have caller ID, take a note of the number calling you.
If you have any information in relation to these crimes or you think you know who the people pictured are, please call Sergeant Benny Ostler, Manurewa Police, Carla Thomas on 021 36 35 35 Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
Source: New Zealand Police.