Unscrupulous fraudsters will target anyone

Unscrupulous fraudsters will target anyone

Howard Broad, Police Commissioner

Fraudsters were around long before the internet but technology has made their work much easier.
Criminals now solicit money from people all over the world in increasingly sophisticated operations.
The most common scams are well-publicised. Even so, honest and well-meaning New Zealanders part with thousands of dollars every year for the promise of love, prizes or money - or just to help someone apparently down on their luck.
Don't be fooled. Scamming is a global industry costing billions of dollars world-wide. Research shows victims come from all backgrounds, income brackets and ages.
Scammers' audacity was highlighted this week when an email was sent to woman who had already fallen victim to a scam. This time, the scammers pretended to represent New Zealand's Organised and Financial Crime Agency (OFCANZ) and sought money to pay for the investigation.
Fortunately, the victim was suspicious because the emails looked unofficial and were poorly written.
Police hear from many people who have been duped by scams and want to get their money back.
The hard fact is, once money has been sent overseas it is virtually impossible to recover.
The best defence is to be aware of the risks. Stay vigilant and protect yourself.

  • If someone requests your personal details out of the blue by email, don't respond. Add the sender to your blocked sender list.
  • Scammers also work by phone and in person. Don't give out personal or bank details unless you are sure who you are giving them to.
  • Check businesses and offers are genuine. Speak to someone by phone, search the internet for background or check Scamwatch.
  • Don't click links in an unsolicited email - they may take you to a fake website designed to trap you.
  • Banks will never ask for passwords or PINs, and police will never ask you to pay for an investigation.

More information:

  • Scamwatch - Ministry of Consumer Affairs website where you can report and find out about scams.
  • Netsafe - cybersafety information for individuals, businesses, schools, parents and children.
  • Scam Machine - Netsafe's interactive way to learn about scams and how they work.
  • Securities Commission - report if you may have invested, or been approached to invest, in an illegal investment scheme.
  • Anti-Spam unit - department of Internal Affairs unit that takes complaints about spam and investigates as appropriate.
  • Commerce Commission - if you may have been targeted by a pyramid scheme or pro-forma invoicing scam.