Scammers claiming to be from the Earthquake Commission have been trying to dupe customers into giving out credit card or bank account details in a bid to steal their money.
The EQC was so concerned about the scam phone calls, known as ‘phishing’, that it was prompted to issue an alert to warn people.
EQC general manager customer and claims, Trish Keith, said: “In one case, a customer was contacted by someone claiming to be from EQC and offering an assessment of their property, but was then asked for information about their bank account and credit cards.
“Fortunately they suspected that the call was not genuine and it is important that people do not fall for this type of scam.”
Keith said while many large organisations were plagued by similar phishing scams, the warning comes part way through EQC’s billing program to claw back insurance excesses, which involves some 70,000 Canterbury homeowners being invoiced.
Around 12%, or $2.1 million worth, was still outstanding since the bills started going out in batches in April last year.
However, Keith said their teams followed very strict procedures when contacting customers about their claims and any payments they needed to make.
She said EQC would not ask for money before carrying out an assessment and there were always a set of security questions on both inbound and outbound calls to determine authenticity.
“EQC will ask for bank account details when arranging an assessment in some instances or if we are about to make a settlement.
“If you are not comfortable with providing these details over the phone, we can discuss alternative methods on how you can provide this information.
But she added: “EQC would never ask for a PIN number, credit card details, or other confidential information such as passwords and user names.”
She said the EQC contact centre was agreeable to customers calling them back if they had any concerns to ensure the call is valid.
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