ALERT: DIA warn Government telephone operators targeted by scammers

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Department of Internal Affairs

Department of Internal Affairs are warning New Zealand Government contact centre operators about a scam where overseas callers are pestering them for information about staff.

Internal Affairs is one of several government departments being targeted. Regulatory Services General Manager, Raj Krishnan, says operators report receiving increasingly aggressive calls from overseas call centres seeking confirmation of job titles and email addresses.

“The callers are probably seeking information to support ‘whaling’ and ‘phishing’ activities where organisations or executives are targeted with malicious emails to force a financial transaction or gain unlawful access to private information,” Mr Krishnan said.

The Department is working with telecommunications providers to have these calls automatically dropped.

Nuisance or unsolicited telephone calls are not captured by the anti-spam Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act and call centre staff use their judgement to deal with the calls in the same way that they deal with abusive callers.

“Given the widespread nature of these calls, it is prudent that staff remain on ‘scam alert’ when receiving emails containing suspicious links, attachments, or requests,” Mr Krishnan said.

“If an urgent request for money transfer or payment is received, always double check with the person who is authorising the transaction directly and that the appropriate policies and procedures are being applied.”