Church minister among victims of Efeso Collins funeral scam

Warnings of Fa'anānā Efeso Collins Funeral scam
Warnings of Fa'anānā Efeso Collins Funeral scam Photo credit: Supplied

Story by RNZ

An Auckland councillor and friend of Fa'anānā Efeso Collins is urging people not fall for fake livestream links to his funeral on Facebook.

It comes as people gather to pay their respects to the 49-year-old MP who collapsed and died taking part in a charity event in Auckland last week.

Josephine Bartley told First Up on Tuesday she had spoken to a church minister in Auckland who had lost money in the scam.

She was worried others were falling for it.

"I spent a lot of yesterday looking up who had accepted the Facebook friend request; some of these people are in high positions in the community and they had fallen for it.

"I would then message them to say they were being scammed."

Her warning comes after Tipene Funerals, which is organising the funeral for Fa'anānā, has warned of fake Facebook pages.

One page has more than 100 friends and advertises a hoax livestream link to his funeral using pictures of Fa'anānā and his family.

Tipene Funerals spokesperson Taito Eddie Tuvalii said while it welcomed community Facebook pages set up to express grief, any with false livestream links or impersonating Fa'nanānā should not be trusted.

"None of those pages are linked to us ... We have no knowledge of them and have no idea whose those people might be."

Bartley said she was receiving friend requests on Facebook which offer links to the livestream of a funeral.

Once accepted, the scammer requests money - sometimes as little as $1 - and says it will take bank details. Once the bank account details are given, people are at risk of finding money cleaned out of their account.

"It is really not good.

"One guy this happened to was a church minister who wanted to watch the funeral, He sent bank details as requested and fund money had been taken from his account.

"There are so many of these popping up. They look official - they are headed up with details of livestreams and photos of the Tipene Funerals chapel.

"But many are scams."

Bartley was urging people to report any suspicious activity to Facebook.

Tipene Funerals would provide livestream details on its Facebook page closer to the memorial on Thursday.

Story by RNZ