Tuesday, 19 December 2023 - 6:27am |
National News

Don’t be a victim of an online scam this festive season

3 min read

This holiday season, New Zealand Police are encouraging people to be aware of online scams and fraud.

The holiday period can already be a time of stress, the last thing you want during an already stressful time is to lose large sums of money to a scam.

MBIE has identified nearly $200 million of New Zealanders money has been lost to scams in the last year. 

Scammers don’t differentiate and are targeting everyone across New Zealand. Common scams include:
• Phishing: Phishing is a type of email scam, where the sender pretends to be a trustworthy organisation to try and get your personal information, like internet banking login details.
• Social media: Social media scams happen when someone tries to get money from you through social media, often pretending to be someone you know. They may also be someone buying or selling something on a social media marketplace.
• Invoice: Invoice scams affect both individuals and businesses. Scammers will send fake invoices requesting payment for goods or services that you didn't ask for or receive.
• Calls: Scam phone calls are less common but do still happen. Scammers call pretending to be from a well-known company, requesting remote access to your PC or device, to gain access to private information on your device, like your financial information.
• Money and investment: Scammers will attempt to get you to part with money or valuable information under the false assumption that you’ll receive financial or personal gain in return.
• Romance: Romance scammers create fake online profiles to try to take advantage of someone looking for a relationship online using dating sites and apps or social media to build a relationship with you. Once they’ve gained your trust, they will start to ask you for money, gifts or personal details.
• Text message: Text message scams, or 'smishing scams', are messages sent out by scammers who are looking to get access to personal information, financial details, phone, or money.
• Money Mules: A money mule is someone who transfers illegally acquired money on behalf of someone else. They help launder the proceeds derived from online scams and fraud by allowing their personal bank account to receive money before the money mule transfers the money.

Sometimes scams and fraud are not obvious so it’s important to be cautious whenever anyone, particularly online, is asking you to give them money.

If you think you are getting scammed or laundering money, stop all contact with the scammer, do not make any more payments, contact your bank and report it to Police.

Police urge anyone who sees something they think might be attractive or a great deal to research the ‘deal’, speak to friends and family, check with the Financial Markets Authority, and be vigilant about anything out of the ordinary.

If you believe you a victim of fraud, contact report it to Police at 105.police.govt.nz

Resources are available to those who believe they are a victim of this type of offending. A good place to start is:
• Consumer protection identifies how to recognise, avoid and act against scams: Scamwatch | Consumer Protection
• The Financial Markets Authority provides helpful advice on how to avoid falling victim to online investments scams. Home | Financial Markets Authority (fma.govt.nz)
• CERT NZ helps you with reporting a cyber security incident and provides support to individuals and businesses Home | CERT NZ

Some people are more vulnerable than others to online scams, particularly older people who may struggle with technology or those with English as a second language.  Keep an eye on your friends and family and help them to understand what scams look like, so they don’t fall victim.


Issued by Police Media Centre.