13,000 instances of online scams and $33mil in losses were reported to NetSafe by New Zealanders last year.
Total losses have tripled since 2017 when 8,100 reports were made.
Netsafe CEO Martin Cocker says a new approach is needed in the fight against online scams.
"We’re now seeing waves of successful scams hitting the country, with the fake sextortion scam being the most recent."
He says, "We know the lengths that scammers are taking to deceive New Zealanders and we know that existing interventions are having a limited effect. This is an issue that isn’t going away, more needs to be done or we will continue to see large numbers of New Zealanders suffering financial and psychological harm."
Netsafe says there is no coordinated national effort to disrupt scams locally.
"At the moment, there is no official ‘one-stop-shop’ that the public can report scams to and rely on for the advice they need," says Cocker.
"New Zealand needs a national response centre to provide real-time scam trend analysis, information sharing, nationwide alert systems and dedicated support."
Victims are not only impacted by experiencing financial loss. Netsafe says many scam and fraud victims report feeling frustrated and embarrassed or having lost confidence in using digital technology to make payments or connect with others.
Scams to look out for:
The most common scam in 2018 was the fake tech support scam, where scammers make contact about a fake issue with a computer and offer to fix it.
The newest scam trend in 2018 was the fake sextortion scam, falsely claiming that video footage of people watching pornography would be released unless a ransom is paid.
Invoice scams, investment fraud and romance scams were among the scams that resulted in the biggest losses for New Zealanders.
ANNUAL REPORTED SCAM & FRAUD LOSSES TO NETSAFE 2013 - 2018
NETSAFE’S GUIDE TO SCAM SPOTTING -
Be wary of:
1. Being contacted by phone or email out of the blue
2. Being told there is a problem with your device or internet connections
3. Being asked for the passwords to your online accounts
4. Unexpected communications asking you to “verify” your account or details
5. Winning a competition that you don’t remember entering
6. Moving outside of an online trading or booking website or app
7. Friends/partners you’ve met online asking for money or talking about money problems
8. Unusual payment methods such as gift cards
9. Being asked for remote access to your device
10. Pressure to make a decision or take action quickly
For more information, see netsafe.org.nz