Being safe online
In 2021, almost 9,000 cyber-crime incidents were reported in New Zealand for a total financial loss of almost $17 million. This was a 13% increase on 2020, and that number is only expected to increase each year.
At New Zealand Seniors, we take your privacy seriously and work hard to maintain it. But no matter what safeguards we have in place to protect your personal information, awareness will always be the best way to protect yourself against the rising threat of scams.
So, what is a scam?
Has someone contacted you out of the blue? Have they promised you something, or asked you to do something for them? Always consider the possibility that it may be a scam.
A scam promises things like easy money, great bargains, exclusive knowledge or a loving relationship to try and trick you out of money or steal your personal information.
Most scams fall into the following categories:
- Buying or selling scams trick you into sending money for fake products or services, usually through fake websites that look like the real thing or by sending you authentic-looking bills or invoices for something you never ordered.
- Dating and romance scams take advantage of people looking for romantic partners, luring them with fake profiles and then using emotional triggers to convince them to provide money, gifts, or their personal details.
- Fake charity scams impersonate genuine charities, asking for donations after natural disasters or other major events such as the Christchurch earthquake of 2010/11.
- Investment scams offer an easy way to make money, presenting fake opportunities such as property or business deals, guaranteed high-returns, or gambling systems that prey on their victims’ desire to make a quick buck.
- Jobs and employment scams trick you into paying for training or access to a guaranteed dream role that you might not have the necessary qualifications or experience for.
- Threats and extortion scams threaten to release sensitive information about you or even threaten your life if you don’t hand over money or your personal information. These scammers often pretend to be from the police or the government.
- Unexpected money scams give you false hope about offers of money, such as an inheritance from a distant relative or a request from a stranger who wants to move a large windfall out of their country to avoid high taxation.
- Remote access scams convince potential victims to hand over control of their computer or other device to fix a problem, with scammers often pretending to be from your electricity or gas company, or internet or phone provider.
- Unexpected win scams trick you into giving money or your personal information in order to receive a prize from a lottery or competition that you never entered.
Scams can be delivered via email, SMS, dating websites, social networking, instant messaging, video calls such as Skype or FaceTime, online surveys, or even a USB drive that has been posted to your address.