Monday, July 15, 2024

Fraud bill closes in on $200m

New figures released by the Ministry of Business, Industry and Employment (MBIE) show that close to $200 million dollars was lost to scams over the last year according to 11 of New Zealand’s largest financial institutions.

The new data has been released as the Ministry hosts Fraud Awareness Week 2023.

MBIE says this year’s Fraud Awareness Week efforts are focused on encouraging consumers not to fall victim to investment scams.

A joint social media campaign featuring the psychologist Nigel Latta has been created by MBIE and the Banking Ombudsman Scheme. It builds on the programme ‘You’ve been Scammed by Nigel Latta’, which broadcast on TVNZ earlier this year and is available on TVNZ on Demand.

The Financial Markets Authority has also created a social media campaign, in partnership with comedian Tom Sainsbury, illustrating what investment scams can look like.

MBIE spokesperson for Fraud Awareness Week, Ian Caplin says scammers are targeting all New Zealanders, but especially those with savings or investments.

“It’s important to remember real investments don’t just come out of the blue. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is,” said Mr Caplin.

“If you receive unsolicited investment offers via email or through a ‘cold call’, ignore it. It’s illegal to sell financial products through these methods in New Zealand.

“Investors can contact institutions directly through contact details on official websites to verify documents and payment instructions before sending any money. The FMA website also contains details of warnings and real-life examples of scams.

“If you think you’ve been scammed, stop all contact with the scammer. Do not make any more payments and contact your bank immediately. Report all investment scams to the FMA, and scams in general to CERT NZ to stop others falling victim.

“If you don’t understand it, walk away. Before you make any investment, understand how the investment works,” he said.

Fraud Awareness Week is run by MBIE in its role as chair of the Inter-agency Fraud Awareness Group.

The Interagency Fraud Working Group includes members such as:

  • MBIE
  • CERT NZ
  • Netsafe NZ
  • the Serious Fraud Office
  • Te Ara Ahunga Ora – Retirement Commission
  • the Financial Markets Authority
  • DIA
  • Police
  • the Banking Ombudsman Scheme
  • the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum
  • representatives from the banking industry.

Members work on operational and system enhancements to better protect consumers from scams.

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