Five ways to tell – and what to do next
You’ve made smart and well-researched investments, your money is secure and you’ve got insurance just in case things go south. But have you safeguarded yourself against scams?
Scams are a very real and growing threat to all New Zealanders – and the hard thing is, you might not even know you’re being scammed until it’s too late.
Get Scam Savvy with BNZ
There’s good news – thanks to Bank of New Zealand (BNZ), you can practise spotting scams in a safe place. Its Scam Savvy website – part of BNZ Great Things, which focuses on improving New Zealander’s financial wellbeing – has a bunch of tools you can use to practise staying safer online and keep an eye on scam trends happening in New Zealand.
With the help of BNZ, we’ve put together a list of tell-tale signs you’re being scammed and what you can do next.
You’re asked for personal information
If you’ve been asked to provide or confirm your personal information online or by someone you’ve never met – abort mission!
No one – not even banks – will ask you to confirm your personal information via email or over the phone (unless you’ve called them first). They most certainly won’t ask for your bank account, credit card number, PIN or password.
Don’t ever supply anyone with these details. Ask the person you’re speaking to for their name, and which company they’re calling from. If you don’t recognise the company, hang up or block them. If you do, tell them you’ll call them back. If they’re unwilling to let you do that – it’s almost certainly a scam. When you call back, you’ll quickly know whether you’ve dodged a bullet, or whether everything’s above board.
If you do accidentally give away your financial information, call your bank immediately and let them know what happened so they can act accordingly.
It’s too good to be true
Unfortunately, some things are just too good to be true. Perhaps you’ve been offered “a really good deal”, met a new love interest, or been approached about an incredible money-making opportunity. These may be scammers attempting to scam you.
Do your research and check up on people, and make all the calls you need to confirm. It’s also a good idea to ask someone else – sometimes they can spot signs you haven’t.
You’re told time is running out
Scammers will often tell you “time is running out” and to “be in quick – before you miss out”. You might also find they relentlessly contact you, pestering or bullying you into deciding. Major red flags!
Take your time and don’t let anyone push you into making a decision. Most salespeople will give you time to think over any big investment. If you’re starting to feel uncomfortable, block their email address or phone number.
Strange emails or unfamiliar website URLs
A couple of things to be wary of online: emails that come from out of the blue, and short or really longgggg website links.
As a general rule, don’t open or click on any link or URL you don’t recognise. Do a quick Google search of the URL or email sender to see what pops up. If it’s too late, and you’ve clicked on something you probably shouldn’t have, make sure your anti-virus software is up to date, and run a full scan of your computer.
You’re asked for money
No matter how heart-wrenching their story seems, don’t ever pay for someone else’s medical expenses, especially if you don’t know them. If you’ve recently met someone new online, don’t send them money or share financial information. And if you do know them, still be vigilant. “Do this for me, as your friend” is not reason enough to give away your hard-earned cash.
Ready for more practice?
Visit BNZ’s Scam Savvy site for these handy tools:
- Scam Savvy Intro: learn how to spot a scam with ‘Sam the Scammer’.
- Scam Savvy Mobile: a safe place to practise identifying potential signs of scams on a smartphone.
- Scam Savvy Trending: keep an eye on types of scams that are happening and how they’re being distributed. You can also report any scams you come across.