Kiwis reported a combined loss of $10.1 million dollars form online scams and fraud to Netsafe in 2017.
The largest single loss reported was $480,00 and the average loss was $10,771. It is likely that the reported losses are only a small percentage of the total losses, as many people feel a sense of embarrassment or hopelessness about reporting scams.
Netsafe CEO, Martin Cocker, says that New Zealand should not accept scam losses as inevitable and that more can be done to stop the losses.
“The first step is to stop thinking of scam victims as greedy or foolish,” he says. “We need to correct that misconception, get more creative with prevention education, and improve coordination between the agencies and organisations that can disrupt scam and fraud activity.
The simple message of ‘If it seems to good to be true, it probably is’ no longer reflects the reality of the online scam and fraud landscape. It would be more accurate to say ‘Even if it seems like a reasonable deal, it could still be a scam,” Martin said.
Netsafe now sees scammers taking the time to set victims up, often by leveraging the huge volumes of personal data now floating about on the web.
“Scammers are taking advantage of technology and digital marketing techniques to create scams that appear authentic. These scams are multi-faceted, often using several well- executed marketing elements designed to mimic well-known organisations and processes that people trust.”
The scams most commonly reported to Netsafe are tech support scams. Scammers make contact about a fake issue with a computer and offer to fix it by requesting remote access to the device. The largest loss reported to Netsafe in 2017 was $480,000 to an investment scam. Kiwis lost $1.4m to online romance scams in 2017.