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Become a real-life superhero by arming yourself with the information you need to fight fraud and keep yourself, your family and your money safe.
Fraudsters are real. They are out there every day. They will target you online, over the phone, by mail or in person.
They will target anyone. Thousands of New Zealanders lose millions of dollars to fraudsters every year. All kinds of people are targeted, from teenagers to grandparents, uni students to senior corporate officers. The impact of fraud on families and businesses can be devastating.
Report it! The best thing you can do is to report the fraud, whatever the amount, to the appropriate authorities. Don’t be embarrassed – you're helping prevent others being caught in the same trap.
Research NZ states 72% of New Zealanders have been the target of some kind of scam, either online or by telephone. Scams are increasing in number and sophistication – it’s big business.
Scammers are smart and unregulated. If one scam or tactic doesn’t work, they simply change the game plan or set new rules.
Most of us can fall victim to a fraud, especially when we are going through something challenging. Some of you may have already been a victim of a scam and not even realised.
There are so many different types of scams, and they all target people in different ways. They are becoming more and more complex, so it can be hard to tell what’s real and what’s not.
We’re all at risk. Here are our top tips to avoid being scammed
These are all red flags. Remember, legitimate companies or government agencies will never ask for your passwords.
Scammers use these strategies to get people into a vulnerable headspace. This makes it much easier for the scammers to get their victim to share personal information or to make quick decisions they might not otherwise choose to do. Watch out for these tactics:
‘You’ll make a lot of money from this opportunity.’ (Ghost riches)
It’s important to remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Scammers are often very good at acting as a close friend – they can build a strong connection that may feel like friendship. Once they have gained your trust, unfortunately you’re in a more vulnerable position. This isn't to say ‘Don't trust strangers’, but instead, ‘Don’t trust strangers with your money or personal information’.
For many of us, if everyone is doing it we assume it must be good! This isn’t always the case. In many cases, the statement itself may not be truthful. A scammer will say whatever they can to convince you to hand over your personal information or your money.
The effect of this simple sentence can put us into a panicked mindset, making us more vulnerable to making a quick decision that doesn’t necessarily align with our goals. We might skip some of the research and the gut–feel.
If you don’t have time to research and ask questions, it might be best to let it go. Better to stay safe than to lose your money to a scam.
There are a number of sneaky ways to encourage you to buy more – marketing 101. One way is to emphasise how much of a good deal you’re getting. If you’re shown a similar product or service for a much higher price, the lower price begins to sound reasonable in comparison.
We all want to support our friends, right? Always be careful about giving your friends money. If a friendship is formed based on an investment opportunity, it’s important to know your ‘friend’ well, and to protect yourself from financial or business harm as much as possible.
Fraud Hurts is the first film to be made by two fraud-fighting agencies telling victims’ stories. Produced by CFFC in association with the Serious Fraud Office, it premiered at the International Fraud Film Festival on November 14, 2019, as part of a free public session to promote fraud awareness.
There are a few places you can go, depending on the type of scam or fraud you're dealing with. Here are some of your options.
Netsafe is NZ's independent, non-profit online safety expert.
0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723)
Age Concern New Zealand provides free confidential advice and support for older people and their families who have been scammed or financially abused.
They can also help you connect with social groups and activities near you. Contact one of the national network of 33 Age Concern branches.
Age Concern NZ
The FMA has more information on how to spot scam warning signs and deal with problems. You can also find out if the investment provider is registered.
Financial Markets Authority
0800 434 567
CERT NZ is your first port of call when you need to report a cyber security problem. They support businesses, organisations and individuals affected by cyber security incidents.
0800 CERT NZ (0800 2378 69)
IDCare is Australia and NZ's national identity and cyber support service. They help individuals reduce the harm from compromise and misuse of their identity information.
Report spam to DIA, so they can investigate and take action where necessary.
Department of Internal Affairs
Text Mobile SPAM to 7726
Find out what to know and do when purchasing a product or service in NZ.
0508 4 CONSUMER (0508 426 678)
The Little Black book of Frauds and Scams is a great resource - share it with your friends and loved ones to help prevent frauds and scams. Knowledge is power!
A money mule is someone who transfers illegally acquired money on behalf of a criminal – unknowingly or willingly.
Coping with the Aftermath of Fraud has some helpful tips to get through, if you or someone you know has been victim to fraud.