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$4 million lost to scams


Media release

25 February 2013

$4 million lost to scams

Figures released by a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment-led Consumer Fraud Working Group show Kiwis lost close to four million dollars to scams last year.

Out of the 4204 reports last year, 727 people lost money an average of $5,464.55 per person. Many people reported losing significantly more.

MBIE spokesman Jarrod Rendle says losses reported by members of the public rose by more than $1.7 million between 2011 and 2012, despite 1309 fewer scams being reported.

This is in part due to a marked increase in losses to investment-related scams.

“Losses to investment-related scams such as boiler room fraud rose by 77 per cent last year. People that fall prey to investment scams can lose very large sums of money – with three people losing more than $150,000 each.”

The group also saw a large increase in the amount lost to dating scams – more than $2.2m in losses compared to $900,000 in 2011.

NetSafe Operations Manager Lee Chisholm says fraudsters usually befriend vulnerable people online and later claim to urgently need large sums of money for an overseas financial emergency.

“These scams can see the victims emotionally devastated and lose their life’s savings. Three people lost over $100,000 each last year.”

The Consumer Fraud Working Group’s report shows a 23 per cent drop in the amount lost to phishing. Losses to scams that trick people into thinking that they have a virus on their computer also dropped by 67 per cent.

The full scam statistics are available at: http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scam-news/4-million-lost-to-scams

[ends]


Notes to Editors:
The Consumer Fraud Working Group was formed to share resources and better identify and publicise consumer fraud and scams. It is made up of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)’s Consumer Affairs team, the Department of Internal Affairs' Electronic Messaging Compliance team and non-government organisation NetSafe.

• For cyber safety advice visit www.netsafe.org.nz.
• For information on spam, or to report email, fax or text spam go to www.antispam.govt.nz.
• For more information on scams visit www.scamwatch.govt.nz.

Figures were collected from scams reported through the Consumer Affairs website and NetSafe’s online reporting system the ORB www.theorb.org.nz


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