'Pretty sad scam': How an elderly Waikato man lost $30,000

In what police have called a "pretty sad scam", an elderly man was tricked out of $30,000 in one phone call.

The Waikato man, identified only as Mr John, received a phone call from someone who said they worked for Spark. The caller, described as "demanding and persuasive", convinced Mr John to log onto his online banking account.

He asked if he could call them back later, but the voice on the phone was insistent.

As part of the sickening scam, the caller remotely took control of Mr John's computer and collected his personal information. A massive $50,000 was then taken out of his account, which he didn't realise had happened until sometime later.

He also received a "poorly constructed" letter in which the same scammer pretended to be the police, although the contents of the letter haven't been made public.

Mr John's bank was able to retrieve $20,000 of his stolen money, but the rest was gone for good.

Waikato Police shared the tragic story in a Facebook post to raise awareness of how scammers often target the elderly and vulnerable.

"Mr John was relatively clued up with technology but they still got him," the post warns.

Police ask that people take the time to discuss scams with the elderly people in their lives in the hopes they can avoid being the targets of theft.

A survey published in June revealed that three out of every four New Zealanders have been targeted by a scam, either online or via the phone.