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Dale Fleetwood is cautioning people to keep their wits about them when using social media and when sharing account details after a thief took $2000 from her. Photo: KELLEY TANTAU

Thieves fleece $2k from bank account

A Waihī woman is reminding people to be money-aware after her Visa debit card was used to fleece her of $2000.
Dale Fleetwood noticed something was wrong with her finances on June 4, after her debit card kept declining at petrol stations and supermarkets.
“It was so embarrassing. You get up to the check-out, and your card declines… I got rather ill over it, to be frank,” she told The Profile.
But Dale kept the problem to herself, believing it to be some sort of error with her superannuation payments, and didn’t alert her family.
It was more than a week later when she got through to her bank – Kiwibank – and was immediately told someone was withdrawing money from her account.
“I was going hungry, but that was my own fault,” she said. “I should have contacted my family.”
She went to Kiwibank in Thames before being transferred to the bank’s fraud department, which she said initially told her they wouldn’t be able to reimburse her funds. Then, they agreed to deposit $50, then, finally the full $2000. “When I found out what had happened, I went to the [Waihī] Police, and the receptionist there was absolutely brilliant. She said it was very common, and they gave me a big box of food, which blew me away.”
Dale said the thief appeared to be someone living in New Zealand, as there was an array of TradeMe purchases and transactions made in Northland.
She has since received a new bank card and the offending seems to have stopped, but she still doesn’t know what happened for her account to have been targeted.
“[People] said I must have dropped my card somewhere and someone’s come along… but no, that was not the case,” she said. “Nothing like this has ever happened to me and I never want it to happen again, and even though it did happen, I still don’t know how it happened.”
Dale is now cautioning people to keep their wits about them when using social media and when sharing account details.
“Never, ever give anyone your bank details,” she said.
“The bank and the police kept asking if I do internet banking and no, I don’t. They asked if I buy anything online. No, I don’t.”
Dale also said victims of online scams need to ask for help from friends and family.
“It’s just so personal,” she said. “You think you’ve done something wrong. But if something is wrong, don’t ignore it.”
A Kiwibank spokesperson told The Profile it was really important for victims to notify their bank as soon as they suspected something had happened.
“If you’ve been the victim of unauthorised activity on your accounts, we’ll reimburse any money you’ve lost as long as you’ve complied with our general terms and conditions, haven’t acted dishonestly or negligently, and have taken reasonable steps to protect your banking,” they said.
Kiwibank advises taking several measures to stay safe: Keep your contact details up to date so a bank can let you know if it notices anything suspicious; don’t let your card out of your sight – if a retailer needs to swipe your card, make sure they give it back to you straight away; where possible, swipe your card through Eftpos terminals yourself; check your statements for any transactions that you don’t recognise; and never give your card details to someone over the phone unless you initiated the call and you know the company is reputable.