FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

Kiwis being defrauded at record levels since COVID-19 began

By Shannon Williams
Wed 6 Apr 2022

Data released by ASB this April has revealed a dark side-effect of COVID-19, with a significant increase in New Zealanders falling victim to scams since the pandemic began in March 2020.

Investment scams, particularly those involving crypto-currency, top ASB's list of scams a growing percentage of Kiwis are falling for, with the number of customers being tricked into responding to fraudulent money-making opportunities more than tripling between April 2020 and March 2022.

The bank's data also shows more than double the number of customers falling for romance scams in the past two years.

ASB customers who reported falling victim to phishing and smishing scams also peaked during the pandemic. The biggest spike took place between November 2020 and January 2021, following a smishing attack in which scammers posed as a postal agency, with this figure jumping to more than 1,000 customers impacted per month up from the normal average of 100.

ASB Head of Fraud Operations, Mark Emmett, says the highly sophisticated nature of scams and the ongoing impacts of COVID-19 are likely to blame for more Kiwis suffering a financial loss at the hands of scammers.

"We are seeing scams becoming very highly sophisticated, which makes them hard to spot and it unfortunately means more Kiwis are being caught out. Falling for a scam certainly doesn't make you a fool," he says.

"COVID has put people in situations where they are isolated from their support networks and this can prevent them from getting a second opinion," Emmett says. 

"Financial pressures brought on by COVID are also making people more susceptible to being deceived by scams offering opportunities to make money, so its no surprise that we have seen these figures increase during the pandemic."
 
Emmett says a lack of knowledge and awareness of crypto-currencies is also contributing to more Kiwis being duped.

"Crypto-currency offers a new investment opportunity some Kiwis are keen to take advantage of, however as theres still a lack of understanding around it, were seeing more people being lured by investment scams rather than seeking advice from a registered financial advisor," he says.

Another worrying trend is the rise of more complex cold call scams, with the bank reporting double the number of customers being caught out by a scammer posing as a bank employee in the past 12 months.

More than 70% of ASBs customers who had fallen victim to an investment, romance or cold calling scam during the pandemic were over the age of 50. The average age of customers who fell victim to an investment scam was 58, an average age of 60 for a romance scam and those falling for cold calling tending to be slightly older at an average age of 77.

Despite this, Emmett says Kiwis of all ages should be wary of being caught out by scammers.

"Scams impact customers of all ages, in fact were seeing younger people regularly being caught out via social media," he says. 

"It's typically our customers over the age of 50 who are more likely to report it, as they often suffer a larger financial loss.

"The difficult thing with these types of scams is that customers can make transactions without realising they are being scammed," Emmett adds. 

"It's important for Kiwis to look at these things with a dose of healthy skepticism, and if they have any doubts to get in touch with our fraud team via 0800 ASB FRAUD. ASB will never ask for your internet banking details over the phone or send you a text or an email with a link to log into FastNet Classic, nor we will ask you to send money to any unfamiliar accounts."

As well as raising awareness of the risk of scams and fraud, ASB is taking practical steps to help protect customers and has recently introduced new authentication measures via its mobile app to prevent and notify customers of unauthorised logins to their FastNet Classic accounts.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Wireless Nation
Wireless Nation, N4L provide 4G network to remote NZ schools
Wireless Nation and Network for Learning (N4L) have rolled out the Rural Connectivity Group’s (RCG) new 4G network to better connect three Chatham Islands schools.
Story image
First Table
First Table set to revive restaurant commerce in NZ with platform launch
A new restaurant booking platform has launched in New Zealand, giving Kiwi diners the opportunity to save and book at a variety of restaurants around the country.
Story image
Apple
Apple previews new features for users with disabilities
Apple says new software features that offer users with disabilities new tools for navigation, health and communication, are set to come out later this year.
Story image
Gaming
PNY launches XLR8 Gaming EPIX memory products in A/NZ
PNY has launched its XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X RGB™ DDR4 Silver 3200MHz and 3600MHz memory products in Australia and New Zealand.
Story image
Corsair
Hands-on review: Corsair 32GB Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM kit
Corsair’s Vengeance 5200MHz DDR5 DRAM offers PC users an entry-level upgrade to the new memory standard allowing them to get a little bit more out of their new Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
NFT
Emirates to launch NFTs and experiences in the metaverse
"Emirates has embraced advanced technologies to improve business processes, enhance our customer offering, and enrich our employees' skills and experiences."
Story image
i-PRO
i-Pro announces newest solutions as rebranded enterprise
i-PRO APAC Oceania has introduced its newest high-resolution mid-range cameras, with combined edge AI analytics and resolutions of up to 4K.
Story image
Wireless
Sony to bring new 1000X series WH-1000XM5 headphones to the market
Sony has announced the newest edition of its award-winning wireless headphones, with the 1000X series WH-1000XM5 noise-cancelling model.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Weird West (PlayStation 4)
There have been many games released over the years based on the wild west era, but Weird West is one of the most unique.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: Creative Outlier Air V3
Creative is back with the third version of its affordable Outlier Air wireless earbuds range - aptly named the ‘V3’. And this time, they come boasting ambient mode and active noise reduction.
Story image
E-waste
NZ’s first and only e-waste sorting machine launched
Computer Recycling launches e-waste shredder and MSS optical sorting machine BLUBOX, which is able to sort out a tonne of e-waste per hour
Story image
Collaboration
TikTok launches community-inspired effect capability
TikTok has announced the launch of its Effect House feature to allow its users to create and share Community Effects.
Story image
Mobility
Hands-on review: STM laptop bags
The advent of hybrid working has meant we need laptop bags. We got our hands on two of the most popular laptop bags from STM.
Story image
PaaS
New digital traffic light system to tackle construction defects
Smarter Defects Management launches its PaaS digital system and says it will revolutionise managing defects in the construction industry.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: Intel Core i7-12700 CPU
Intel’s middle-of-the-road 12th generation Core i7-12700 offers performance at a lower price than the pricey Core i9 for users that are not fussed by overclocking.
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft unveils adaptive accessories for disability access
Microsoft is introducing an expansive Inclusive Tech Lab to give people with disabilities greater access to technology through new software features and adaptive accessories.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: The A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console
Retro Games, the UK outfit responsible for a range of retro gaming devices from joystick to full-sized Vic-20s and C64 emulators, have launched their A500 Mini Retro Gaming Console.
Story image
Design
Dynabook launches new Tecra A40-K and A50-K models
Dynabook has announced two new additions to its Tecra range, with both said to help promote flexible working solutions while also reducing the strain on IT managers.
Story image
Malware
Vulnerabilities in Lenovo laptops expose users to UEFI malware
Researchers at ESET have discovered three vulnerabilities affecting various Lenovo consumer laptop models.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: MLB The Show 22 (PS5)
Historically the MLB The Show series has been exclusive to PlayStation consoles, but now the franchise is expanding.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Amazon Kindle Paperwhite Signature Edition
In almost every respect it works like a book, apart from the fact that it weighs next to nothing, fits in my hand perfectly, and is soothing on my eyes.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: 32GB PNY XLR8 Gaming MAKO 6000MHz DDR5 memory kit
PNY’s XLR8 Gaming MAKO DDR5 memory modules are designed to get the most out of systems based on Intel’s 12th generation Alder Lake CPUs.
Story image
Sustainability
The AI Forum helps NZ pave the way with AI sustainability practices
Non-profit organisation The AI Forum is helping Kiwis learn about addressing climate change issues through the use of AI technology.
Story image
Online shopping
A/NZ shoppers plan to spend less, be more selective
For retailers, 2022 is set to be a year of introspection as shoppers across Australia and New Zealand indicate they plan to spend less.
Booster
Booster Innovation Fund. A fund of Kiwi ingenuity – for Kiwi investors.
Link image
Story image
Poly
Poly introduces new smart devices and announces Amazon e-store in Australia
Poly is introducing two new pro-grade devices to the market and announcing its first official Australian e-store on Amazon.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant spike in consumer fraud, new report finds
Reported cases of consumer fraud more than tripled in the years 2020-2021 from prior years, according to a new report by Accenture.
Story image
Logitech
Logitech releases new mouse with ergonomic and sustainable focus
Logitech has announced the Logitech Signature M650 Mouse and the Signature M650 for Business Wireless Mouse, both with new ergonomic features and capabilities.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Lego Star Wars: The Skywalker Saga (Xbox Series X)
The Lego Star Wars games have always been popular with both kids and adults as they are a cute way to relive the famous movies.
Story image
Music
Hands-on review: JBL Partybox 110 Bluetooth speaker
My first review in a long time is sure to create a lot of noise, if the experience in my household has been anything to go by.
Story image
WolfVision
WolfVision announces new range of visualisers
WolfVision has announced a new range of visualisers to help meet multiple industry demands for remote learning and educational solutions.
Story image
IDC
IDC finds 3.9% decline in worldwide tablet shipments
Preliminary data from IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Personal Computing Device Tracker has found tablet shipments reached 38.4 million units during Q1 2022, a year-over-year decline of 3.9%.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: Ghostwire Tokyo (PS5)
Although a bit of a tonal departure for Bethesda, Ghostwire Toyko is a good-looking and eerie action game that is aimed at a very select audience.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Tell-tale hints before volcanic eruptions found using AI
Researchers have pinpointed precursors to volcanic eruptions, in data collected before explosions including the deadly 2019 Whakaari surge that killed 22 people.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: MSI MPG Z690 Carbon WIFI motherboard
It’s all change with Intel’s 12th generation CPUs. We have a new chipset in the 600-series, a new socket with the LGA 1700, and new DDR5 memory.
Story image
D-Link
D-Link launches new G415 Smart Router as part of EAGLE PRO AI range
D-Link A/NZ has announced the launch of its new G415 AX1500 4G Smart Router as part of the new EAGLE PRO AI Series.
Story image
Norton
Hands-on review: Norton Anti Track 19 software
We get hands on with Norton's new privacy tool that was introduced in March 2022.
Story image
Dynabook
Dynabook A/NZ announces new Portégé X40L-K hyperlight laptop
Dynabook A/NZ has unveiled the all-new Portégé X40L-K, a hyperlight 14.0" modern laptop utilising cutting-edge, high-performance computing power.
Story image
Review
Hands-on-review: GoPro Hero 10
I have a long history with GoPro; I still remember getting my first camera when I was 16, using it to film Parkour and the day I lost it down a dingey crag. 
Story image
Microsoft
Microsoft backing Māori and Pacific wāhine in tech industry
A new initiative focused on getting Māori and Pacific wāhine into the tech industry and backed by Microsoft, NZTech and the government is calling for tech companies to get involved.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Steelseries Aerox 9 Wireless and Aerox 5 gaming mice
Steelseries offered two interesting mice for review, the Aerox 9 Wireless, aimed at MMO/MOBA players, and the Aerox 5, a wired mouse for multi-genre use.
Story image
Jabra
Jabra reveals its latest portable headset Engage 55
Jabra has launched the Engage 55, the newest product in Jabra's Engage series designed for ultimate call security and quality.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Google to enter the smartwatch market with the Google Pixel Watch
Google has provided a first look at its new Google Pixel Watch, which is set to make an entry into the competitive smartwatch market.
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: Technics EAH-A800 Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Designed in Osaka, Japan, these headphones just exude quality. They aren’t heavy, but they feel well built and solid.