Netsafe Quarterly Report April – June 2020

CEO Welcome

It is incredible to look back and see how much New Zealand, and the world, changed in this quarter.

For the most part people happily participated in digital society, although the rapid adoption of technology, increased stress and physical separation did combine to create a perfect storm for trouble online.

This was evident as Netsafe recorded its highest ever number of personal harm reports in a quarter – reports trended upwards and at a level consistently higher than pre-lockdown levels. We also saw scam reports surge, visits to netsafe.org.nz increase by 210 percent and many new followers of @NetsafeNZ on social media.

Given Netsafe’s purpose is to enable people to confidently access digital opportunities and reduce online harm, we also focused on providing proactive resources. We ramped up our support for schools and kura, we launched our new Online Safety Parent Toolkit and we worked with Trade Me, CERT NZ, Netflix, Twitter, Google and Facebook to develop the Staying Safe Online Guide.

We also joined forces with other members of the Online Harm Prevention Group to coordinate our efforts to help people have better online experiences. This included partnering with the Department of Internal Affairs, the Classification Office and the Ministry of Education on the high-profile Keep it Real Online campaign.

This quarter was a time of high demand for Netsafe’s offerings and for people working in online safety. Our team worked hard to provide relevant and timely information and to support people with expert incident advice if something had gone wrong. I’m proud of what we achieved, and I know we will continue to be able to help people no matter what happens.

Ngā mihi,
Martin Cocker
CEO

Director Update

Sean Lyons, Director of Education & Engagement

In response to the changing environment and an increased reliance on the internet, Netsafe launched the ‘Stay Connected, Stay Safe’ education campaign.

The campaign was designed to encourage people to embrace the opportunities of technology, whilst recognising and addressing the potential dangers. Ultimately, we wanted people to share their tips to help their online and/or school community as some of the risks on the internet can be minimised by actions people do themselves.

We also put a big focus on supporting educators. We created bespoke resources for the New Zealand environment and hosted a series of webinars for the sector by turning our Netsafe LIVE events into virtual sessions. Our education team answered pre-submitted questions as well as live questions that came in during the session and invited relevant experts to join us.

We also asked our Youth Action Squad to help us promote online safety. They shared their top tips for lockdown and filmed their own video to share advice on how they stay safe.

Things move quickly online and we worked hard to keep people safe and informed. We increased the cadence of our regular newsletters, published more frequently on our social channels and we updated netsafe.org.nz daily so it was a one-stop shop for all online safety information.

If you don’t already now is a great time to keep up with our activities by following us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram  or subscribing to our newsletter.

Quarterly Results

Overview

Between April and June 2020, Netsafe received 6,880 reports overall which is a 51 percent increase compared to last quarter. It was also Netsafe’s highest personal harm report quarter on record, and there was a 26.4 percent increase compared to last quarter. There has been a 73.1 percent increase in scam and fraud reports.

TOTAL REPORTS (+551%*)

PERSONAL HARM REPORTS (+26.4%*)

SCAM & FRAUD REPORTS (+73.1%*)

OTHER REPORTS (+35.2%*)

*  Percentage change based on reports made to Netsafe when compared to the last quarter

Reports by age group

Overall reports to Netsafe by age group.

17.6%

0-21

34.8%

22-40

30.9%

41-64

16.7%

65+

Reports by gender

53.7%

FEMALE

7.6%

GENDER DIVERSE

38.7%

MALE

Personal Harm Reporting

There were 576 breaches of the 10 communication principles reported to Netsafe between April and June. This is a 36.5 percent increase compared to the previous quarter. The most reported personal harm categories for the quarter were:

Reported breaches under the Harmful Digital Communications Act*

43% Harassment/online bullying

17% False allegations

16% Threatening, intimidating or menancing

10% Disclose sensitive facts

5% Indecent or obscene

* Cases often involve breaches of more than one communications principle

Scam and Fraud Reporting

Netsafe saw a big spike in the number of scam reports made to us. There was an overall increase of 73.1% in the total of scam and fraud reports and a 36.3 percent increase in reports with losses. While there was an increase in the number of people losing money to scams, the overall amount reported to Netsafe decreased in this quarter. People reported a combined loss of $3,675,333.14 in 1,278 reports. This is an average loss of  $2,875.84 and an overall decrease when compared to last quarter’s average loss of $5,343.67.

Scam & fraud snapshot

$3.67M

REPORTED LOSSES

1,278

REPORTS WITH $ LOSSES

$2,875.8

AVERAGE LOSS

 

Top scam categories reported

Product & services fraud

Investment fraud

Prize & grant Fraud

Relationship & trust fraud

Employment fraud

Products and services fraud overview

Netsafe saw a spike in reports about scammers using well-known retail brands in text and email scams. Often people are told they have won a prize (e.g. supermarket voucher or a mobile phone) or that they could win a prize by completing an online survey. The online survey asks for personal details and sometimes credit card details to pay for the shipping of the prize.

Education & Engagement 

The country may have been in lockdown, but the internet wasn’t. We supported schools and community organisations, worked with our Youth Action Squad (YAS)to share tips, increased our awareness efforts and provided proactive and reactive media commentary on topics including scams, bullying and staying safe. For a different perspective on digital parenting, we asked our YAS what they wished parents knew about life online and how parents could better support tamariki. Check out our YAS weighing in and interviewing their on digital parenting here. 

Outreach activities

Press release

Netsafe issued a release to help people have better online  experiences during lockdown. Read more now

Television ads

For the first time Netsafe relied on television ads to let people know about our services. In this ad we enlisted tamariki’s help to talk about digital parenting. Watch it now.

Netsafe Schools

Watch our education team talk about online safety for teachers. They were joined by Lisa Byers from Tainui School.

Netsafe Team Spotlight

Pranisha, Online Safety Consultant

Pranisha moved to Auckland in 2008 with her family from Fiji and completed her university education here. She has worked in donor relationship roles within non-profit organisations and loves the feeling of being on the phone to help people. She joined the Netsafe family in December 2018 after moving back home from Sydney.

Pranisha is a Netsafe Online Safety Consultant and works front-line in the contact centre to provide advice on online safety issues, scams and as well takes reports of online harm from the public.

She is the proud co-owner of a puppy and loves to talk about brightly coloured fabric prints and popular food spots.

Image of Pranisha

About Netsafe

Netsafe is an independent non-profit organisation with an unrelenting focus on online safety. We keep people safe online by providing free support, advice and education. Visit netsafe.org.nz for useful resources or call 0508 638 723 seven days a week for help with an online incident.

Find out more at www.netsafe.org.nz


Become a Netsafe member

Netsafe is incorporated as a society and a charity. Our members represent a variety of backgrounds and countries, but all have one thing in common – an interest in keeping people safe online. Membership is free and easy to apply for. Find out more about being a Netsafe member or apply by completing our online form.

Become a member

Report data

The data in this report represents the data available at the end of the quarter. Information related to the reports made to Netsafe reflect high-level trends, and does not include easily identifiable information about specific reports/incidents.

If you have any queries about the information in this report, please email outreach@netsafe.org.nz