Phone scammers try a different ploy


AN Eastern Bay man says a telephone rip-off scheme, where scammers say they represent Spark and threaten to disconnect victims’ internet access, is targeting residents.

The man, who asked not to be named, said he and a friend had received calls over the past couple of weeks.

“I’ve been called twice in the last fortnight and a friend of mine was called twice in two days the week before,” he said.

“A woman’s recorded voice comes on saying: ‘I am from Spark, we’re going to cut your internet connection off tomorrow. Press 1 for more information’.”

He said though the first voice in the call was clearly British, the call was sent to what he believed was a call centre in Asia.

“The first time it happened my wife couldn’t understand the caller and she brought the phone to me, but he had already hung up,” the man said.

Spark corporate relations partner Samantha Smith said many people were confronted with these types of calls.

“The cases sound like instances of number spoofing where scammers disguise their actual number, coming from somewhere overseas for one that looks like a local New Zealand number.

“This is not uncommon, and scammers often use this technique to seem legitimate,” she said.

“Spark recommends never ringing the number provided. Instead, you can check if the communication is legitimate by calling the company back to verify the call.”

She said people should trust their instincts when it came to calls that didn’t seem genuine.

“Although there’s no way to be certain a caller is legitimate when you first answer the call, if it seems suspicious, the best thing to do is hang up,” she said.