These words - Phishing, Smishing and Vishing* are not in my Oxford Dictionary (yet) but we had better take note of them.
Sareta Fraser of KiwiBank’s 15-strong Fraud Investigation team gave us a Zoom talk last evening about the perils facing the whole community from online, telephone, and door-to-door scams.
The rascally scammers are professional, clever, and very patient. They aim to profit by stealing your money or your information, or both. They are constantly experimenting and changing their methods.
72% of the adult population has been targeted by scammers. In 2018 $33m was reportedly lost to scammers, but the real figure is probably much higher. Anyone can become a victim, and scamming is underreported because victims often feel shame or embarrassment.
The scammers use cunning tactics to lure their victims: they promise riches, build credibility in various ways, claim that others are buying in, and stress the urgency of decisions: “don’t miss out on this golden opportunity”.
Common Scams - These can include the selling of worthless investment products, the promise of romance, invading your computer privacy to redirect your savings, preying on your generosity, the selling of non-existent products online, and identity theft.
Red Flags - Approaches that come out of the blue are suspect, as are poor grammar or spelling in emails, requests to pay untraceable, and overpayment claims. Beware of online surveys and approaches via social media. Offers which seem ‘too good to be true’ always are.
Education and awareness are the antidotes to scamming. Knowledge is power, and prevention is the key. Victims shouldn’t blame themselves and should seek help from banks, Netsafe, or the police.
It’s a funny world when we can be robbed by a geek in Kazakhstan, or wherever, operating out of their bedroom. Be vigilant!
For more information and advice you can go here.
*Scams by email, text, or telephone, respectively.
Here are three booklets that Sareta has kindly sent for you to download and read if you'd like to ...
CFFC (Commission - for Financial Capability):