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Fraud Awareness Week 2012: 19-25 March

Fraud Awareness Week 2012

New Zealanders certainly are a nice and friendly bunch but we seem to be falling for the same scams over and over again. Some of the highest losses are those lost to confidence scams. Our trust in the good nature of people is literally losing us millions of dollars every year!


Kiwi’s just aren’t that savvy when it comes to online scams, we’re a bit too trusting for our own good and internet fraud is getting more and more sophisticated.


The Ministry of Consumer Affairs and Netsafe have combined the statistics collected from scam reports for the last two years and the numbers show that fraudsters are continuing to steal vast sums of money from everyday Kiwis by evolving the way they run their scams. Similar amounts are being lost to the same scams year after year and it would seem that the fraudsters are staying one step ahead of us.


In fact New Zealanders are estimated to lose hundreds of millions of dollars a year to consumer fraud. Our statistics show that one in ten people approached by a scammer will hand over money. These victims will lose an average of almost $5000; some victims are losing tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.


This year's Fraud Awareness Week is focussing on online scams. In particular we are seeing dating, investment and online trading scams doing some of the worst damage in terms of losses. These are all confidence-type scams where the fraudster will invest, sometimes considerable, time and resource into making you believe that the website you're looking at, or the product or service you think you're buying, or the person you believe you're dating is real. The sad reality is that they're not, and if you send money overseas to these criminals, you will probably never see that cash again. Tracking scammers over the internet is almost impossible and tracing money through wire services is equally as difficult.


The Ministry of Consumer Affairs believes that raising awareness is by far the best – and sometimes the only – defence against scams. So, it's time to get savvy about online scams and fraud. Check out some of the information we have on Scamwatch and jump on to our new Facebook page to stay up-to-date with the latest scam alerts:

Click here for info on scams

Click here to get scam alerts from our Facebook page



Fraud Awareness Week

Fraud Awareness Week is an initiative run by the Ministry of Consumer affairs in support of a global education campaign initiated by ICPEN (International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network). The first awareness campaign was held in New Zealand in March 2006.

The New Zealand campaign is part of a trans-Tasman initiative of the Australasian Consumer Fraud Taskforce (ACFT) which was established in March 2005 to support the ICPEN initiative. ACFT comprises 19 government regulatory and enforcement agencies in Australia and New Zealand. Public and private sector partners in New Zealand support the Scam Awareness campaigns by helping promote them.

Awareness campaigns are based on the premise that a successful scam involves the response and participation of the consumer. Consumers can avoid falling victim if they are able to make informed decisions when confronted with a possible scam. If consumers recognise when they are being targeted by scamsters and know how to respond then the scam will not succeed.

Report a scam to Scamwatch.