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‘A really good man’: Local cop praised for assisting elderly scam victim

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 May 2023, 9:48am
Photo / Bevan Conley
Photo / Bevan Conley

‘A really good man’: Local cop praised for assisting elderly scam victim

Author
Nathan Morton, NZ Herald,
Publish Date
Thu, 4 May 2023, 9:48am

A small-town police officer has had his praises sung by a local resident after the cop assisted his 93-year-old father who’d had his savings drained by scammers.

The elderly gentleman, a north Canterbury local, spent hours on the phone with the scammers as they stole $1700 from his accounts.

His bank, ANZ, was reluctant to show any willingness to help restore his funds until a local cop drove the man to his bank branch and helped him explain his cause.

This was all witnessed by the man’s son, Grant McLellan, who said his father was completely trusting that the scam was legitimate.

“You know, this generation - they’re so trusting and really naive in some respects to the capabilities of the people out there,” he told NZME.

The elderly gentleman spent hours on the phone with the scammers as they stole $1700 from his accounts. Photo / 123rf

The elderly gentleman spent hours on the phone with the scammers as they stole $1700 from his accounts. Photo / 123rf

“He was led to believe the people on the phone wanted his help catching other scammers... he truly believed he was doing the right thing.”

The scammers began unloading his money until ANZ blocked the account, after which he was told to inform his bank that his son was using his credit card.

McLellan said his father was obedient to the request and said when he realised what he’d done, he was overcome with guilt.

“As he reflected on it, he realised it was silly,” said McLellan.

 “He’s very honest and straight, he’s old school and they’re just wired different - this generation. He was so afraid of the implications of what he’d done.”

The man tried communicating what happened to the bank, but the fact he’d lied to ANZ about where his funds were going left the bank unwilling to co-operate with him.

Regaining his composure, the man then turned to the police - unsure of what more he could do.

 “He contacted the cops and explained it in his own words, they were really good and came round to his house and he told them the whole story,” the son said.

“I later rang the cop and thanked him for what he’d done, because he picked my father up from his house and took him to the ANZ bank in Rangiora and helped him explain to the bank what had actually happened.”

The officer, Constable Jeff Power ,said he “felt sorry” for the gentleman and wanted to do his bit to help.

“He’s got an operation coming up and he didn’t have a lot of money, so it meant a lot to him,” the officer said.

“If I could do a little bit to help him then that’s what I would do.”

Talking in person to the bank teller, he found more sympathy came his way. According to McLellan, the bank teller told the man that Constable Power was known for his community efforts.

“She said this police officer was a really good man,” said McLellan.

“I’m sure there are lots of people in the country who don’t have the luxury of dealing with cops of a small rural town that will go that extra mile. There’s bloody good people in the police and I don’t want people to lose sight of it.”

In a statement to NZMEANZ bank accepted its communication with the customer could have been better, and is urgently working to resolve the issue.

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