Corporate NZ warned after Te Wānanga o Aotearoa scammed

updated By Wepiha Te Kanawa

An online scam transferring a large sum of money to a Hong Kong account has put Te Wānanga o Aotearoa in the spotlight. As incidents like this continue to increase in New Zealand, experts have strong warnings for other organisations.

The issue of Whale scamming is designed to trick organisations into sending money to either NZ or offshore accounts.

TWOA's chief executive Dr Jim Mather says he received a text in November confirming a payment had been made as per his request. The Executive Director of Finance at the organisation, Bronwyn Koroheke, transferred $US79,000 to an offshore bank account after receiving an email which appeared to be from Mather.

Chris Hails from Netsafe says, “Scammers can send emails that appear to be from genuine members of staff, they take the time to research people who are prominent within an organisation and send those emails through on the basis that they might be believed.”

Even though Bronwyn Koroheke has resigned, Māori banker Hinemaia Rikirangi cautions other organisations about the potential flaws in their process.

“Companies should revisit their processes to see if they’re up to date” says Ms Rikirangi.

Mather says the matter is now with the Hong Kong and NZ Police.