If you have been scammed or think you are about to be scammed, you can find information and advice using this page.
Below is a list of common scams that you can choose from to get information and advice about the scam. If you don’t know the name of the scam you’ve come across, check out the ‘Intro to common scams’ information below to help you work out the kind of scam it is.
Intros to common scams
Cold calling scams
Cold call scams are run by scammers who contact you on your home phone. These scammers may be trying to sell you a fake product or service, or they may be pretending to be from a legitimate organisation or a government agency. These scammers are trying to get payment or personal details from you. These scammers may claim that you have a refund or payment due to you (e.g. tax refunds from IRD), you have an invoice or bill you need to pay, or that there is a problem with your visa or employment (e.g. your visa has expired). See cold calling scams advice.
Tech support scams
This is where people are called by scammers (or see a “pop up” screen on their computer) pretending to offer help to people with a slow or infected computer, or another problem with a computer or internet connection. These scammers will often attempt to get ‘remote access’ to your device. Remote access is when someone can access a computer or a network from another location. See tech support scam advice.
Email phishing scams
Phishing is when someone tries to get personal information (like bank account numbers and passwords), from a large and un-targeted audience, so they can use it to impersonate or defraud people. The email may include a dodgy link in it, or be an offer (e.g. competition prize) or threat (e.g. tax bill). See advice about email phishing scams.
Fake sextortion email scams
This a version of an email phishing scam that has been huge in 2018. It’s an email where the scammer claims to have hacked into their device and recorded intimate recordings of people using pornographic websites. They threaten to release the video unless you pay money or bitcoin. Some versions may include a current or old password (likely gained from a data leak somewhere) and some even “spoof” the email address so it appears to have been sent from your own email account with the scammer claiming they have access to it. See advice about fake sextortion email scams.
Sextortion and webcam blackmail scams
This scam generally begins when someone is lured into taking part in an online video chat session after meeting someone new online. The scammers encourage the person to get naked on camera and/or engage in sexual activities. At the end of the call or at a later date, the person is told that the session was recorded and that the footage will be released online or sent to family members unless they make a payment to the scammer. See advice about sextortion and webcam blackmail scams.
Fake invoice scams
Fake invoice scams happen when someone requests that a business pays fake invoices for a product or service that was not requested, or received. See advice about fake invoice scams.
These fake competitions scams are run on social media to try and reach as many people as they can. Posts about the competitions are published by scammers in the hope that people will reply with personal information, which can lead to identity theft.
Romance scams occur when a scammer pretends to be in a relationship with someone online in order to scam them out of money. See romance scam advice.
Receiving unsolicited goods
These are goods they haven’t ordered, and the company that sent them is demanding payment for the product. See advice about receiving unsolicited goods.
Unwanted subscriptions and trials
This happens when people have been signed up to paid subscriptions without their knowledge. In other instances, they’ve have signed up to a free trial, but are unable to cancel their subscription once the payments kick in. See advice about unwanted subscriptions and trials.
Investment scam operators often promise very high returns with little risk to your initial capital. Suspect financial schemes can include initial public offers in high growth companies, options, gold or foreign exchange trading services, betting systems or new specialist investment areas such as carbon credits. Learn more about investment scams.
Webcam blackmail and sextortion
Webcam blackmail and sextortion has evolved as a new way to blackmail people online. Generally this involves filming someone (or pretending to have filmed someone) in a sexual act and then threatening to release the footage if payment isn’t made. See advice about webcam blackmail and sextortion.
Government grant scams
Scammers will call people at random claiming to be from the New Zealand government, and may say they are calling on behalf of a government figure, or political party and may give a fake employee ID number. A common claim is that the target has been chosen to receive a grant as a reward e.g. for being good citizens, for having no criminal convictions or for voting for a certain political party. See advice about government grant scams.
Event ticket scams
Event ticket scams happen when tickets to an event are purchased from an individual (for example, on social media) or through a third party ticket resale website. The buyer later finds out they have been charged hidden fees, the tickets aren’t legitimate or they don’t receive the tickets. See advice about event ticket scams.
Report a scam
Help if you have been scammed or think you are about to be scammed: Netsafe can’t open investigations or track scammers, but we can offer support and advice for people who have lost money in a scam, or think they are about to. This includes letting you know the steps you can take depending on the scam you’re in and giving you advice about how to stay safe in future. You can report a scam to www.netsafe.org.nz/report.
Our help service is open from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm on weekends.
- Tips for avoiding scams
- More information on scams
- Quick guide for staying safe online
- Online safety advice for parents
- Online safety advice for businesses
- How to choose a good password