Westpac warns New Zealanders of scam targeting Chinese customers

Westpac said customers should never share their online banking passwords.
Westpac said customers should never share their online banking passwords. Photo credit: Getty Images

Westpac is warning Kiwis to look out for a so-called "penalty scam" that is particularly targeting their Chinese customers.

The scammers are posing as authoritative figures and are pressuring customers to hand over their money.

"Scammers are contacting people and claiming to be from the police, another government agency, or a business, and threatening to take severe action or fine them unless they make payments or give out personal information," Westpac NZ Head of Financial Crime Mark Coxhead said in a statement.

"There have been recent reports of scammers making contact via video call, posing as police officers in China and accusing the recipient of a crime. They threaten them with harm, arrest or legal action if they do not make payments to an overseas account."

He urges customers that receive a call similar to the description to hang up immediately and contact their bank.

"Fraudsters and scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in how they operate, and we're working around the clock to keep our customers safe," Coxhead said.

"But customers can help us and themselves by staying vigilant and reporting anything that doesn't seem right."

Westpack said that police will never contact a person to send money in a video call or phone call. Don't feel time pressured any genuine government agencies will give you time to pay outstanding invoices bills or fees.

Customers should never share their online banking passwords.