Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Commission humbugs chain letters & other hoaxes


’Tis the season for scams: Commission bah humbugs chain letters, horse-betting, lottery schemes and text hoaxes

The Commerce Commission is warning consumers to be wary of offers that seem too good to be true – because they probably are.

Director of Fair Trading Deborah Battell said the Commission had recently issued nine warnings to individuals involved in the ‘David Rhodes’ chain letter scheme, which claims that $218 can be turned into $77,760 in 60 days.

“The letter is a variation of previous similar chain letters such as the Edward L Green scheme. The letter asks recipients to send $10 to the person on the top of a list, to add their own name to number 5 on the list and then to forward the letter with the same instructions to 200 contacts. It estimates the cost of photocopying and postage to be $218, with a total profit of $77,542.”

Under the Fair Trading Act, chain letters that request the sending of money are deemed to be pyramid selling schemes. Anyone who operates or promotes a pyramid selling scheme in New Zealand can be fined up to $200,000, with the court being able to order payment of the equivalent revenue or ‘commercial gain’ earned from the offending.

Ms Battell said the Commission was particularly concerned about this type of scheme because it targets the most vulnerable members of society. “The letter opens with the story of David Rhodes, who claims to have lost his job and had his home and car repossessed. This type of scheme is preying on individuals in similar circumstances, who can’t afford to throw away $200.”

The Commission also has concerns about a horse betting scheme run by an Australian company Antinas Pty Limited.

The company has allegedly been contacting investors in New Zealand by telephone and offering them large returns in connection with a horse betting programme.

“The scheme appears to be akin to a horse betting scheme the Commission assisted its Australian counterpart, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, in taking court action against in 2002. That scheme falsely claimed to be able to predict horse-race place-getters with high accuracy.”

Ms Battell said that this type of scheme was more likely to be a gambling program than an investment program and emphasised the need for people to exercise caution if considering getting involved.

The Commission continues to receive calls from members of the public querying letters they have received from international lotteries claiming they are entitled to winnings.

“The letters come in all shapes and forms, but all require some outlay by the recipient, or require the disclosure of personal details such as a bank account number. In the Commission’s view, these schemes are an advanced type of fraud and should be avoided. People who invest in these schemes risk losing significant amounts of money.”

Ms Battell said the Commission was also aware of a text message hoax currently doing the rounds telling people that if they forward a message to 10 people they will be credited with $10 worth of free texts.

“Both Telecom and Vodafone mobile users have been hit by these hoaxes which have great nuisance value. Neither of these businesses is likely to advertise special offers in this way and mobile phone users should simply delete the messages.”

“Anyone who receives an offer that is too good to be true should think very carefully before responding to it,” Ms Battell said.

The Scamwatch section of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs’ website, http://www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz provides warnings about current financial scams in circulation.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Westpac: Sets Out Plan To Go Cheque-Free

Westpac NZ has announced details of its plan to phase out cheques, after signalling in May that it would be supporting a move to other forms of payment. Cheques will cease to be available as a means of payment after 25 June 2021. Westpac NZ General ... More>>

ALSO:

NZTA: Major New Zealand Upgrade Programme Projects Go To Tender

Two major New Zealand Upgrade Programme projects are beginning tenders for construction. The New Zealand Upgrade Programme is a $6.8 billion investment to get our cities moving, to save lives and boost productivity in growth areas. The first Auckland ... More>>

Reserve Bank: RBNZ Seeks To Preserve Benefits Of Cash

The Reserve Bank – Te Pūtea Matua is taking on a new role of steward of the cash system “to preserve the benefits of cash for all who need them”, Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby told the Royal Numismatics Society of New Zealand annual conference ... More>>

ALSO:

Economy: Double-Dip Recession Next Year, But Housing Rolls On

New Zealand's economy is expected to slip back into recession early next year as delayed job losses, falling consumer spending, and the absence of international tourists bites into growth. More>>

ALSO:

Microsoft New Zealand: Microsoft Expands “Highway To A Hundred Unicorns” Initiative To Support Startups In Asia Pacific

New Zealand, 14 October 2020 – Today Microsoft for Startups launches the Highway to a Hundred Unicorns initiative in Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem. This follows the initiative’s success in India, where 56 startups were ... More>>

Fonterra: Farmers Taking Another Step Towards New Zealand’s Low Emissions Food Production

They’re hot off the press and intended to help take the heat out of climate change. Fonterra farmers are already among the world’s most sustainable producers of milk and now have an additional tool in their sustainability toolbox. Over the last few ... More>>

ALSO:



Courts: Businessman Eric Watson Sentenced To A Four-Month Jail Term

New Zealand businessman Eric Watson has been sentenced to a four-month jail term in the UK for contempt of court, TVNZ reports. More>>

OECD: Area Employment Rate Falls By 4.0 Percentage Points, To 64.6% In Second Quarter Of 2020

The OECD area employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – fell by 4.0 percentage points, to 64.6%, in the second quarter of 2020, its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2010. Across the OECD area, 560 million persons ... More>>

Spark: Turns On 5G In Auckland And Offers A Glimpse Into The Future Of Smart Cities

Spark turned on 5G in downtown Auckland today and has partnered with Auckland Transport (AT) to showcase some of the latest in IoT (Internet of Things) technology and demonstrate what the future could look like for Auckland’s CBD with the power of 5G. 5G is ... More>>

Stats NZ: Monthly Migration Remains Low

Since the border closed in late-March 2020, net migration has averaged about 300 a month, Stats NZ said today. In the five months from April to August 2020, overall net migration was provisionally estimated at 1,700. This was made up of a net gain ... More>>

University of Canterbury: Proglacial Lakes Are Accelerating Glacier Ice Loss

Lake Tasman, New Zealand | 2016 | Photo: Dr Jenna Sutherland Meltwater lakes that form at glacier margins cause ice to recede much further and faster compared to glaciers that terminate on land, according to a new study. But the effects of these glacial ... More>>

ALSO:

Dairy: Fonterra Sells China Farms

Fonterra has agreed to sell its China farms for a total of $555 million (RMB 2.5 billion*1), after successfully developing the farms alongside local partners. Inner Mongolia Natural Dairy Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of China Youran Dairy Group Limited ... More>>

ALSO: