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Almost $1m in losses reported to NetSafe’s Orb website

Almost $1m in losses reported to NetSafe’s Orb website

Auckland, 13 August 2012


NetSafe is marking the second anniversary of their ‘Online Reporting Button’ website (www.theorb.org.nz) this week by publishing figures showing almost $1m in losses were reported due to cyber incidents.

New Zealanders made more than 1500 reports over the course of 12 months with financial losses rising to $982,690.

The website is run in partnership with the Police, Customs Service, Commerce Commission, Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Consumer Affairs and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

“Online scams and fraud make up a large part of what’s being reported to NetSafe,” said Martin Cocker, NetSafe’s Executive Director. “In many cases we’ve been able to provide help and guidance to those affected – but time is a critical factor. Once you become suspicious, the quicker you make your Orb report the more likely it is that NetSafe will be able to help you.”

“There has been a decline in reports about cold calling technical support companies and a rise in the number of people having their online accounts hacked,” said Cocker.

“As well as suffering financial losses, many people are struggling to deal with the emotional turmoil and stress caused by online break-ins to their email and social networking accounts.”

“There’s also been a marked rise in the number of complaints about online trading, including penny auction sites,” said Cocker. “With more people now shopping online and looking overseas for bargains, many people have fallen victim to fake websites that never deliver the goods they've paid for.”

Trusting Kiwis also unlucky in love

Significant losses were again reported as romance and online dating scams with the sum involved almost doubling to more than $674,000.

“Our general advice to people echoes the simple steps we pushed during June’s Cyber Security Awareness Week: use strong, unique passwords for your important online accounts and be suspicious of spam or phishing messages which direct you to malicious or fake websites.”

"If you’re looking to buy online always be cautious of websites you haven’t dealt with before and if the price seems too good to be true take some time to research the company. Google their name and the words ‘review’ or ‘scam’ to see if other customers have had problems in the past.”

“Lastly, avoid sending money by wire transfer to people you don’t know and if you buy online use a credit card and discuss any problem transactions with your bank.”

Lowlights of the year

NetSafe’s analysis of the Orb reports shows patterns in the type of incidents reported:
• Cold calling computer ‘doctors’ were the number one issue for the second year running and continued to be reported by people around the country throughout the year
• Compromised accounts were a common problem with many people spending time and money to restore access and alert friends to scam or spam emails or chat messages being sent under their name
• The number of reports being made by Aucklanders and Cantabrians rose whilst Southland and Wellington saw steep falls in cyber incidents
• People continued to report phishing emails from banks and the IRD but were increasingly wise to these fake requests for login details
• There was a rise in the number of reports about online harassment and abuse on websites and social networking pages with NetSafe working to develop new relationships to improve safety
• The infographic (see attached MS Word document or http://blog.netsafe.org.nz/2012/08/13/almost-1m-in-losses-reported-to-netsafes-orb-website/) contains some further key statistics. A larger version of this image (2.5MB) is made available for media use at http://blog.netsafe.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/orb-infographic.13.08.12.highquality.jpg
Report to the Orb and help others

NetSafe remains keen for people affected by a wide range of online incidents to report their experiences via the Orb website so the information can be used to improve cyber safety and security programmes.

“Our cyber security work this year was directly influenced by real life incidents reported by individuals across New Zealand,” said Cocker. “If more people tell us about these kind of issues, then NetSafe and our partners can better focus our resources on improving online safety and security.”

Help and advice from NetSafe

You can report your concerns about online incidents in one central location at www.theorb.org.nz. NetSafe will direct your report through to the partner best able to investigate or advise you.

- ENDS -

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