International Fraud Awareness has kicked off and as part of the mission to raise awareness, the New Zealand Bankers’ Association (NZBA) has released a guide to help people spot online scams.
“Fraudsters are always coming up with new ways to steal our money. They trick people into handing over personal information. Once they have your bank account details and PIN or password they can access your identity and your money,” comments NZBA chief executive Karen Scott-Howman.
The topic of this year’s International Fraud Awareness week is also about learning how to spot scams.
“We’re saying it’s okay to be a bit suspicious. For example, beware of email from people you don’t know. Avoid clicking on email links or downloading unknown software. Don’t share PINs and passwords with anyone. Only give personal information to people and organisations you trust.”
According to PwC’s New Zealand insights from the Global Economic Crime Survey 2016, 40% of New Zealand organisations have experienced economic crime.
“Scams succeed because they look like the real thing and catch you off guard when you’re not expecting it. They also exploit your desire to be polite and respectful, as well as your generosity, compassion and good nature,” a statement on Consumer Protection’s website says.
According to Netsafe, more than 7000 people reported a scam last year. Kiwis lost more than $11.7 million, with the average loss more than $10,000. The highest loss was $2 million.
New Zealand government organisations such as Scamwatch and Consumer Affairs also provide advice for individuals who are concerned about identity theft and scams.
Scott-Howman says the guide is designed to raise awareness of online scams and to provide tips on how people can keep themselves safe.
“We’ve made it easy to read, and included websites where you can find out more information. It’s pretty high level, and isn’t meant to be comprehensive. We hope that it will prompt people to find out more,” she continues.
“Scammers are getting increasingly sophisticated in their attempts to get your money or personal details. More and more often they start their harvesting online, specifically in social media, where you are more likely to trust your friends and connections,” Consumer Protection says.
Scott-Howman says it pays to be careful with additional personal information such as passports and driver’s licence details.
Read more about International Fraud Awareness Week here.