30% of Kiwis victims of scams

Thirty-three percent of New Zealanders have been actual or intended victims of scammers, new research from the Commission for Financial Capability shows.

CFCC said tactics used ranged from emails, letters and phone calls to face-to-face meetings. Fraudsters either try to obtain access to computers, or bank accounts and other personal details, through opportunity scams such as bogus lottery wins and previously unknown inheritances.

While fraudsters reached many people, findings show only 16% reported a loss, with 52% of respondents losing less than $500. The largest loss reported by a respondent was in excess of $800,000.

Commission for Financial Capability newly appointed fraud education manager Bronwyn Groot said: “Even very intelligent people get duped. The scammers move fast and hit hard, looking for any sign of vulnerability.

“They are organised, constantly evolving and the only way they will stop is if we stop sending them our hard earned cash and private information.”

Groot said it’s best to “stop, think and research” before sending any money or giving out bank account details or personal information.

“By making a simple google search or ringing your bank to check the email or phone call, could save you a whole lot of heartbreak and financial loss,” she said.

The survey polled 1,034 people and the results will be being released during the International Fraud Awareness Week.

The survey also found most respondents – when fallen victim to a fraud or a scam – reported feeling annoyed (64%) and angry (42%), and most respondents (67%) were proactive in reporting this to an authority.

In line with this, CFFC said it spearheaded the first ever New Zealand Fraud Forum yesterday. The event was co-hosted by CFFC, the New Zealand Bankers’ Association and the Banking Ombudsman Scheme and featured fraud expert Jeffery Thomason from Canada’s Anti-Fraud Centre.