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

 

Talking about money key to preventing scams

Talking more about money could save many New Zealanders from falling victim to scammers, says the Commission for Financial Capability.

Fraud Education Manager Bronwyn Groot says a hallmark of scammers is swearing their targets to secrecy, yet any such request should be seen as a red flag. Groot is speaking out during Sorted’s annual Money Week, which this year aims to get New Zealanders opening up on the touchy subject of money.

“If you meet someone through a dating website, or someone contacts you about an investment opportunity, and demands you keep your relationship with them secret, that’s all the more reason to talk about the situation with your family, bank or lawyer,” says Groot. “Someone who cares about you will not demand confidentiality, and professional organisations are not allowed to.”

Netsafe estimates New Zealanders lose more than $33 million a year to scams, though Groot says this is the tip of the iceberg.

“We don’t know the true figure because people don’t talk about being scammed. They’re embarrassed, or guilty about losing family money, yet by not talking about it they are protecting the scammers and helping these criminals avoid being caught.”

Scam victim Michael Browne agrees. The self-employed builder from Christchurch lost $330,000 in an investment scam in which he’d been told to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

“They swear you to secrecy, and that’s the problem,” says Browne. “If I’d told someone what was happening I could have been made aware that I was being tricked.”

It was only after Browne eventually talked to an employee at his bank that the scam became apparent.

“The bank officer was great – she asked me if I knew where my money was really going, told me I was being scammed and that I should go to the police. The blinkers fell off and I realised she was right.”

Browne never got his money back – it disappeared overseas – including $150,000 he borrowed from his mother. The CFFC has been supporting him and he is speaking out to support its message of the need to talk about money matters with family and trusted advisors, including offers that seem too good to be true, and requests for money from people you’ve never met.

Groot maintains that blame for scams should shift from the victims to the offenders, who use sophisticated tactics and technology to trap people from all walks of life.

“There’s a new investment scam doing the rounds that asks targets to sign a confidentiality clause, requiring them to not discuss the deal with third parties such as banks or financial advisors. Scammers will also use fear tactics such as threatening victims with prosecution for divulging details of a deal.”

Scams take many different forms, and Groot says any request for money should be seen as a warning sign.

“Find someone you feel you can talk to about the situation. Sometimes just putting it into words, or getting another person’s point of view, will help you see that it’s a scam. And it might help law enforcement to catch them before they make someone else a victim.”

CFFC’s Little Black Book of Scams has information on how to recognise and avoid scams, and what to do if you’ve fallen victim.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Paymark: Lockdown Equals Slowdown For Some

The three days of lockdown for Auckland earlier this month made a clear impression on our retail spending figures. While only Auckland moved into Level 3 lockdown, the impact was felt across the country, albeit at different levels. Looking at the ... More>>

Infrastructure Commission: Te Waihanga Releases Report On Water Infrastructure

The New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, Te Waihanga’s latest discussion document highlights the importance of current reforms in the water sector. Its State of Play discussion document about water infrastructure is one of a series looking at the ... More>>

Sci-Tech: Perseverance Rover Lands On Mars – Expert Reaction

NASA has landed a car-sized rover on the red planet to search for signs of past life. The vehicle has more instruments than the four rovers preceding it, and it’s also carrying gear that could help pave the way for human exploration of Mars. The ... More>>

ALSO:


ASB: Quarterly Economic Forecast Predicts OCR Hike As Early As August 2022

Predictions of interest rate rises have been brought forward 12 months in ASB’s latest Quarterly Economic Forecast. Chief Economist Nick Tuffley now expects the RBNZ to begin raising the OCR from its current level of 0.25% as early as August ... More>>

ACT: Matariki Almost A Half Billion Dollar Tax On Business

“Official advice to the Government says an extra public holiday at Matariki could cost almost $450 million,” ACT Leader David Seymour can reveal. “This is a perfect example of the Prime Minister doing what’s popular versus what’s responsible. ... More>>

Genesis: Assessing 6,000 GWh Of Renewable Generation Options For Development By 2025

Genesis is assessing 6,000 GWh of renewable generation options for development after starting a closed RFP process with 11 partners. Those invited to participate offer a range of technologies as Genesis continues to execute its Future-gen strategy to ... More>>

OECD: Unemployment Rate Stable At 6.9% In December 2020, 1.7 Percentage Points Higher Than In February 2020

The OECD area unemployment rate was stable at 6.9% in December 2020, remaining 1.7 percentage points above the level observed in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the labour market. [1] In December, the unemployment rate was also stable ... More>>

Stats NZ: Unemployment Drops To 4.9 Percent As Employment Picks Up

The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 4.9 percent in the December 2020 quarter, from 5.3 percent in the September 2020 quarter, Stats NZ said today. Last quarter’s unemployment rate of 5.3 percent followed the largest increase observed ... More>>