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Marriage proposals only tip of the iceberg

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) wants to help New Zealanders become Scam Savvy and for the week of 26 August will encourage NZers to visit its branches and special locations in malls to learn how to be safer online and avoid being scammed.

BNZ Chief Executive, Angie Mentis, says, “Scammers have moved on from marriage proposals and money transfers. They’re selling fake tickets and subscriptions and mimicking colleagues and friends. They look and feel like the organisations many of us interact with each day, but there are tell-tale giveaways that we want all Kiwis to be clued-up on.

“We want the digital world to feel like a safe space for people no matter what they’re doing. Giving Kiwis the confidence to identify and deal with scams will improve their online experience, reduce harm and benefit us all.

“Kiwis are losing millions annually to scams, but the financial loss is just the tip of the iceberg. Scams affect people’s relationships, confidence, security and privacy.

“Scams are opportunistic, they target our empathy for others, sometimes fear and loneliness and our familiarity with frequently visited sites. They’re not confined to one demographic, we’re all vulnerable. We want New Zealanders armed with the tools they need to recognise and avoid a scam,” says Mentis.

During Scam Savvy week, BNZ’s branches and partner centres will host Scam Savvy sessions and staff Scam Savvy Schools in malls, libraries, high schools and universities.

The sessions will guide people through the types of scams that typically target New Zealanders via email or over the phone, and show them what to look for and what to do if you are scammed, and when and where it is ok to provide personal data.

Mentis says, “At a minimum, we want New Zealanders to know that their bank or any legitimate organisation will never contact you out of the blue and ask for your password. But, the increasing sophistication of the scams demands a deeper level of awareness and understanding, and this is what Scam Savvy week is all about.”

Mentis says that while BNZ’s Scam Savvy week in August will help shine a spotlight on scamming and the damage it is inflicting on unsuspecting Kiwis, anyone can access BNZ’s Scam Savvy tools now at https://www.getscamsavvy.co.nz/.

Mentis: “Most of our customers are online. They’re conducting their day-to-day banking through our app and website, and their transactions are mostly digital – it makes sense to have the Scam Savvy tool available now.

“However, when it comes to personal financial matters, many of our customers appreciate the relationships and confidence that visiting our branches and speaking to our people can provide. Hosting Scam Savvy sessions throughout our extensive branch network in the last week of August will give people the opportunity to speak to a knowledgeable BNZ person and ask questions.

“I encourage every New Zealander to use BNZ’s Scam Savvy week as an opportunity to school-up on scams and avoid becoming a victim of financial fraud,” says Mentis.

Scam Savvy week is part of BNZ’s Great Things programme to help improve financial wellbeing of New Zealand which includes growing digital skills, sharing financial know-how and the well-known apps Penny the Penguin and My Moni that help children and teenagers make good choices.

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