Don't be duped into being a 'money muler' by scammers, Netsafe warns

Cases of unsuspecting Kiwis becoming "money mulers" are on the rise with many people unaware they're being scammed, according to Netsafe.

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Martin Cocker explains what money muling is and what to watch out for. Source: Breakfast

The organisation's chief executive Martin Cocker described a common scam doing the rounds, on TVNZ1's Breakfast today.

"Scammers are asking money mulers to move money from one system to another or from one country to another, or to launder it."

"Often the money comes from a credit card type system. It's paid into a person's bank account, that person then thinks they have the money, they're asked by the scammers to transfer the money somewhere else and they get a cut," Mr Cocker says.

He says when the bank becomes aware of this it reverses the original credit card transaction when it realises the money was stolen.

"Then the money mule is left with the entire cost of the transaction."

Mr Cocker says there are some key things to watch out for.

"The key thing is if you're asked to take money and transfer it somewhere else and you get a cut of it that's a problem, that's the indication that you may be money muling."

He says it may sound obvious not to fall into the trap but a lot of scammers lure you in over time.

"A person who is in this situation has usually been in contact with the scammers for a while and they believe they are part of a business, given a job offer that's fallen into them. So they are not just dropped straight into that money muling situation.

"They often say that you're a mystery shopper, that you're testing the system or simply because the business isn't based here you're a local agent capturing payments for them and sending it off."

Mr Cocker says if you suspect you've been scammed contact Netsafe and your bank.

"The quicker you talk to them the more likely the transactions will be reversed without your loss," he says.

The police have also recently released a statement about vulnerable people in the community being scammed as of late.

Earlier in the month an older man was scammed out of a significant amount of cash after he recieved a call from someone claiming to be from a New Zealand telecommunications company.

The victim was a customer with the company for internet, cell phone and landline and the call seemed genuine.

The scammer even claimed they were working for the police and put a "detective" on the line who said the man had to post a significant amount of cash in order to catch the "offenders" who were, allegedly, hacking the man's computer.

The man believed the call was genuine so posted the cash.

He asked for a tracking number and quickly realised something was wrong so he contacted police.

The parcel was able to be tracked, put on hold and retrieved by police.

"Never automatically trust someone over the phone or online who you haven't met in person," the police advised in a statement.

"If you are receiving a call from someone purporting to be from a business, ask them for their credentials and never hand over personal details such as computer passwords or bank account details.

"Your personal details are very valuable to scammers, they will use your details to take out loans or run up debts if they can."

Police also say to contact your bank immediately if you feel you have been scammed and to also contact police.