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Increasingly Believable Internet Scams Catch Kiwis

NetSafe – The Internet Safety Group

Media Release                                           

31 August 2007


Increasingly Believable Internet Scams Catch Kiwis

New Zealand’s Internet Safety Group, NetSafe has experienced an upsurge in calls from New Zealanders caught in internet scams.


NetSafe Executive Director Martin Cocker says, “Even people who are well aware of common scams and who are cautious with online transactions can be fooled. Some people have lost money, others have contacted us before doing a deal – just to check if what they are about to do is legitimate. ”


One caller booked private overseas accommodation on a legitimate website, deposited money into a bank account to secure the booking, and was unable to ever get in touch with the owner again.


“Most people are familiar with common scams through from stories in the media – but people need to understand that scammers are now using more and more sophisticated methods,” says Martin.


People can protect themselves by only using reputable websites.  These often have more effective trust and safety teams who can prevent and follow up on fraudulent activity.


How you are being asked to pay for something may be a clue to possible dishonest dealings.  A secure site (https and a padlock with a current security certificate) or a reputable escrow service is safer than ‘wiring money’ through a facility like Western Union.  Keep all records of online transactions just in case. People can also check for feedback on a trader before parting with money.


“Online communities can sometimes be a good source of information about fraudsters. The person who was defrauded when booking overseas accommodation, found feedback about the property concerned, and several other people who had been scammed by the same person” says Martin.


 “People can help protect themselves by being cautious about online deals that look ‘too good to be true’ and by ensuring that they do a thorough investigation before parting with any money” says Martin.

Release ends.

For further comment please contact:

Marin Cocker (021 790 369) or Rachel Harrison (021 333 198)



Common scams in NZ :

•          Lottery scams – you are contacted by an overseas lottery agency which tells you that you have won money. They then ask for your account details to pay the money into and a small deposit as a processing fee.

•          Overseas job offers – a great job in an overseas location is offered, and a contract is sent by email. In order to take up the vacancy the applicant must secure a work visa through a recommended immigration consultant who requires a down-payment for services.

•          Nigerian type scams – someone overseas needs help to move money from one account to another. These scams often offer money for this service.

For more information about online scams and how to avoid them, see http://netsafe.org.nz/fraud/fraud_scams.aspx







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