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Phone scams have become an increasingly common problem in New Zealand, with fraudsters using a range of tactics to trick unsuspecting victims out of their money and personal information.
Whether it’s a call from someone claiming to be from your bank, the tax office or a well-known retailer, these scams can be highly sophisticated and difficult to spot.
Let’s take a look at common trends and tactics used in phone scams in New Zealand, along with tips for protecting your money and personal information.
Knowledge is power, so it always helps to stay on top of some of the most common tactics that phone scammers are using. Here are some of the latest.
This is an older scam but is still very much in use. Scammers will call you posing as a Microsoft employee and claim that there’s a problem with your computer. They will then ask for remote access to your computer and try to steal your personal information or install malware on your computer.
In this scam, scammers will call you pretending to be from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) and claim that you owe money in unpaid taxes. Then, they’ll threaten you with legal action if you don’t pay immediately, often following it up with a prompt to give them your credit card or bank details.
Similar to the tax scam, fraudsters will generate an automated phone call scam that claims to be from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD) asking targets for their name and phone number. IRD would never ask for your bank account or PIN numbers over the phone according, to the IRD website.
This is a fraudulent scheme where scammers call individuals impersonating representatives from Google. The scammers claim that the targeted individuals’ Google accounts have been compromised for various reasons. They may ask you to provide personal information such as your name, address, and email account credentials or even direct you to download software to control your computer.
Much like the IRD phone scam, cyber criminals impersonate representatives from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) claiming that the targeted individual’s vehicle registration has expired or owes funds for a traffic infringement.
While these are known (and common) scams, it’s important to realise that scammers don’t stop here. Analysing past incidents, it’s clear that phone scams are only one subset of digital fraud and cyber-crime. There are a variety of tools and methods at the disposal of the scammer such as business email compromise (BEC) scams, phishing scams and more.
After understanding these cyber attacks, we now show you how to spot a potential phone scam so that you can avoid falling victim.
Phone scams are becoming a common occurrence for Kiwis, so it’s essential to know how to spot them. Here are some tips to help you identify a potential phone scam – and to help prevent a scammer from getting your money or information.
If you’ve fallen victim to a phone scam or suspect that you’ve received a scam call, one of the best steps is to report it to authorities. Here’s what you need to know about reporting phone scams in New Zealand.
If you provided any personal information or banking details during the phone call, contact your bank or financial institution immediately. They will be able to advise you on what to do next and may be able to help you recover any lost funds.
In New Zealand, you can report phone scams to the police by contacting your nearest police station or by calling CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111 you can report crime anonymously. If you have been a victim of fraud, make sure to report it to the police as soon as possible.
CERT NZ will be able to assist with the next steps and guidance on who might be experiencing the same phone scam. CERT NZ works to support businesses and individuals who are affected or may be affected by cyber security incidents. You can report your cybersecurity incident on the report an issue webpage or contact them at 0800 2378 69.
Netsafe is an independent, not-for-profit organisation that works to promote online safety in New Zealand. They have a dedicated team that deals with reports of phone scams and other types of online fraud. You can report a scam to Netsafe by filling out their online reporting form or by calling their helpline on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723).
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