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Festive season scams on the rise, according to ANZ

Festive season scams on the rise, according to ANZ

Don’t let your vigilance go on holiday. That’s the message from ANZ – to both its customers and its bankers – after an increase in the number of people falling victim to scams.

In the financial year ending September 30 this year, the bank saw a 206% increase in scams, compared to the previous financial year – and December has kept fraud teams very busy.

“At this time of year, it can be easy to forget that just because we may take holidays, it doesn’t mean the fraudsters do,” says Mike Bullock, Chief Operations Officer at ANZ New Zealand.

“In fact, fraud tends to rise at this time of year with all the buying and selling and movement across the world.”

At the moment, the bank is seeing a spike in the ‘Catch the Hackers’ scam. This scam involves people receiving a call from a telecommunications company technician, who advises them that their computer or modem is faulty and it looks like they’ve been hacked. They are then connected to the cybercrime department of a reputable organisation and told that, in order to catch the hacker, they need to send an international money transfer. The person is instructed to download remote access software and then logon to Internet Banking. This software allows scammers to remotely access the computer, obtain log in details and steal funds.

“The criminals who run these scams aren’t amateurs working out of their garages,” says Mr Bullock.

“They’re big international businesses which hire experts to investigate and impersonate the way trusted companies communicate with individuals, and then manipulate that trust to get hold of personal and financial details.

“It’s really hard to protect people’s financial data when they are the ones giving it away. But make no mistake: it’s not hard to fall for these scams. We see a lot of astute, savvy people and businesses falling victim too.”

ANZ regularly educates its bankers about fraud, and the signs to look for with their customers, including a session recently with fraud victim Sharon Armstrong.

“It’s difficult because the fraudsters often coach their victims on what to say to their banker to disguise the real reason behind a transaction,” says Mr Bullock.

“We tell our bankers to trust their instinct if something doesn’t seem right, to ask questions, and to request documentation where possible.

“If our customers fall victim, we do all that we can to try and recover the money. Sadly, though, because funds move so quickly these days, by the time we’re involved criminals have often already received and withdrawn the funds. And that’s heart breaking for everyone, especially at this time of year.”

Watch and download the video here:


Tips from our Financial Crime team
Here are some top tips to help you, your family and your customers stay safe over the holiday period:
Be alert for scams and remember the Fraud Week theme when considering offers: Stop and think – Is this for real?
Stay safe while travelling: don’t overshare on social media and be careful on open Wi-Fi hotspots. They’re not a safe place to do your online banking or use your credit card.
Only shop at websites you trust and are certain are secure. You can make sure you’re visiting the correct site by typing the URL directly into your address bar.
Check email links before clicking on them: malware isn’t a holiday gift you want! If you hover your mouse over a link (or click and hold the link on a mobile device) it will show you where that link takes you, helping you check it’s a legitimate link.
Keep your new toys safe, making sure all electronic devices have a secure password and anti-virus software installed.

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