This week is Fraud Awareness Week and we’re encouraging people to ‘stop and think - is this for real?’.

Data from Netsafe shows that New Zealanders have lost over $18 million dollars to scams so far this year. The volume of scam-related losses targeting people in New Zealand has continued to remain high in 2020, but with smaller amounts of money being lost to more people.

This year has seen scammers using Covid-19 as an opportunity to exploit New Zealanders, with many people having heightened concerns about their health and financial circumstances this year.

The most significant reported loses in New Zealand have come from scams connected to investments, income replacement, online shopping and dating or romance. These target people at times when they are particularly vulnerable when it can be easy to be exploited.

Top tips

Whenever you’re asked to make a payment provide your personal information remember to stop and think: ‘Is this for real?’- do some digging.

Here are some easy steps you can take to help protect yourself from scams:

  • Be suspicious. Scammers work hard to appear trustworthy, and it’s good to do some research or thinking before you engage with a person or opportunity.
  • Don’t trust unexpected contact. Scams most often come through cold contact, eg an unexpected phone call or email. Always take steps to find out more before considering any offers.
  • Do your research. Use Google to look into the names of people or companies who approach you.
  • Resist demands to act quickly. Anyone presenting a legitimate opportunity will allow you time to consider your response. If you feel under pressure, take some time — or turn it down.
  • Keep your computer virus protection up to date. CERT NZ’s website has advice for anyone wanting to improve their personal cyber security.

To learn more about steps you can take to check for scams visit the How to avoid scams page: 

How to avoid scams

If you think you’re being scammed stop all contact with them immediately, contact your bank or the institution you sent money through and report the scam to Netsafe.

Visit the Fraud Awareness Week 2020 page to find out the steps to take and who to reach for help.

Fraud Awareness Week 2020