NEW ZEALAND police have been alerted to scammers using the effects of stricken ship Rena to try to lure people into making donations to a bogus wildlife fund.

Maritime New Zealand notified police after receiving several reports from people asked to make donations over the phone or directed to a website for a non-existent Rena response fund, said spokesman Jason Dawson.

"They were saying did they want to make a donation to a national wildlife fund and asked for credit card details. They said about the little blue penguins - they're tugging on the heartstrings," he said.

There are no official fundraising activities for the National Oiled Wildlife Response Team, he said.

Maritime New Zealand reminded the public to be cautious and to never provide personal, bank details or credit card information over the phone, online or in an email.

"There are people unfortunately who will take advantage."

The only official fund in operation is the "Bay of Plenty Care for our Coast Fund", and anyone wanting to make a donation can go to the council website, www.boprc.govt.nz.


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