A Hamilton man has issued a warning to New Zealanders after a chilling phone scam left him $7000 out of pocket.
Speaking to The Project on Tuesday, Doug Robinson recounted the time he racked up an $1800 phone bill, which he said didn't make any sense.
It was the beginning of the realisation that he was the subject of an ominous scam.
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"I never thought it could happen to me," he told The Project. "I was blocked out of my internet banking."
When the bank finally showed Mr Robinson his account balance, he said his heart nearly stopped.
"Basically, it was just under $7000 that had been transferred from my bank account."
Of course, the phone bill and the withdrawals hadn't been Mr Robinson.
His life was unravelling before his eyes and he couldn't stop it - not until a total stranger sent him a lifesaving message.
"I received a message via Messenger from someone who said, 'If you've been missing money I know what might be happening'," Mr Robinson recalled.
The person told Mr Robinson he had been scammed by a man who had been stealing his mail for a few weeks.
"The scammer had transferred some money into this person's account and said it was from his mum, but they figured it was a bit fishy when they saw the money was being transferred from the account of a Doug Robinson."
It turns out the scammer first stole Mr Robinson's mail to get his personal information. Next, he called Mr Robinson's phone company and asked them to load his phone number onto a new SIM.
Armed with the Hamilton man's phone number and personal details, the scammer then called his bank and gained access to Mr Robinson's account.
He now has a warning for other Kiwis: "It can happen to anyone."