Consumer Protection is warning New Zealanders about a scam that has resurfaced in which scammers cold-call claiming to be from a fictional government department or using the name of a respected member of society.

The scammers ask for personal information, including bank account details, in order to deposit a sum of money into the person’s account.

This scam has been around in various iterations for several years and while the details change, the signs it’s a scam remain the same.

Consumer Protection urges consumers to be vigilant and wary of any calls that request personal information. Banks and government departments will never call, email or SMS customers to ask for money. If you receive a request like that, it’s a scam.

Consumer Protection’s general advice to consumers is to be vigilant and remember:

  • Be cautious – if you get an unsolicited call and the caller requests personal information, it may be a scam. Banks, corporate businesses, government departments like Immigration New Zealand or Inland Revenue never email, call or SMS customers to ask for money. If you receive a request like that, it’s a scam.
  • Hang up and verify who they are by independently finding their contact details from a trustworthy source such as a phone book and contacting them directly. Searching online for the name of the organisation or business online can also help to uncover if it is a scam.
  • Protect your personal information and financial details – don’t provide your details to anyone who has contacted you out of the blue who you don’t know and trust. Even if they claim to be from a reputable company or government department it may still be a scam.
  • If you get a cold call from someone claiming you are entitled to a grant, refund, have won a holiday or have a virus on your computer, hang up immediately.
  • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Help protect others from this scam

  • Scamwatch: If you have been affected by a scam title, please help us to warn others by reporting it on Scamwatch. Your personal details will be treated in the strictest confidence.
  • Follow ScamsNZ on Facebook (external link) : Stay up to date with scam alerts.