Figure out if you are being scammed

Use these questions to help figure out if you have been targeted by a scammer.

Has someone contacted you unexpectedly?

Approached by someone you weren’t expecting? If someone contacts you out of the blue – whether online, through the post or in person – always consider the possibility that it may be a scam.

Have they promised you something?

Scammers offer exciting advantages to get you interested. They promise things like easy money, great bargains, inside knowledge or a caring relationship.

Have they asked you to do something?

Scams eventually lead to a request for money or personal information. Scammers ask you to do things like enter details on a website, answer questions in a survey, or pay upfront for what they have promised.

Think you're caught in a scam?

Click on the situation that seems most like what’s happening for advice on what to do. Someone is asking me to:

Download The Little Black book of Fraud and Scams from the Sorted website: 

How to protect yourself from fraud and being scammed(external link) — Sorted

Ways that scammers gain your trust

It’s important to be suspicious because scammers have ways of making their offers seem real. 

Beware of the false sense of reassurance that can come from tricks like these:

Scammers can convincingly imitate the logos and communication style of trusted companies. They are known to make fake websites, ID badges, letterheads, and other materials to fool people into giving money or information. Just because the opportunity looks legitimate, doesn’t mean it is.


Scams can come from within New Zealand. International scammers also use fake location data to appear as if they are in your city or country. An opportunity isn’t necessarily safe just because someone uses a local telephone number, contact address or a .nz domain name.

Scammers can learn private details through computer hacking or by taking mail from your letterbox. They use this information to build your trust. If someone offering an opportunity knows a lot about you, it doesn’t mean the opportunity is real.


Scammers appeal to people’s emotions and are experienced at building trust to eventually exploit the relationship. When you develop a relationship with someone over time, it can be hurtful to think their interest in you may not be genuine. But if someone you met online eventually asks you to send or receive money, stop, and think.

If you have noticed or been caught in a scam, report it. 

Report a scam

Identify a scam

Avoiding scams

If you have given money or personal information to a scammer

The first thing to do if you discover you’re being scammed is stop all contact with the scammer.

  • stop all contact with them immediately
  • contact your bank or the institution you sent money through
  • report the scam

Get scam alerts on Facebook with Scamwatch

Every day we are more and more exposed to scams at home, at work and at play. One way you can protect yourself is by staying up to date with the latest scams. Follow our Scamwatch page on Facebook for all the latest scam news and updates.

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