The Commerce Commission is warning New Zealanders about being cold-called by a company called Li Bai Corporation, as it is believed to be a scam. At first consumers are asked if they would like to participate in an electronic products survey, and are also asked for their contact details. In return they are told they could receive an MP4 player and will be entered into a prize draw.

A representative later contacts survey participants to say they have won a substantial cash prize. These ‘winners’ are told they need to pay significant compliance or accountancy costs to release their prize. However, it appears that the prizes do not exist and any cash which is transferred by the consumer overseas is unlikely to be recovered.

The Commission’s Competition General Manager Antonia Horrocks says: “This is an important reminder to New Zealanders about being careful about giving out your personal details over the phone or email to an unknown company.

“If you do provide your personal details, be wary about any future requests from that company. It should certainly raise suspicions when you are asked to pay money to claim a prize – particularly overseas and by bank transfer,” Ms Horrocks said.

In this case Li Bai Corporation gave the appearance of legitimacy by using genuine New Zealand addresses when inviting consumers to attend non-existent functions. It also provided a local phone number to call. The Commission has contacted Li Bai Corporation to discuss its concerns about its operations in New Zealand. As at 10 October 2016 Li Bai Corporation has not responded to the Commission.