It’s International Fraud Awareness Week, and Netsafe has partnered with the Domain Name Commission to bring New Zealanders safer online shopping tips to combat fraud.
It’s a great time to shop online and to remind us to look out for some of the risks.
Keep these 6 handy tips in mind for a safer online shopping experience no matter the time of year:
- Does the website’s name or link match the goods?
- Pay attention to images and language on the site and its social pages.
- What payment options are available? Typically, multiple payment logos are displayed but only one works.
- Research the seller or company.
- Check contact details, delivery and returns arrangements.
- Check the domain registration details by doing a .nz query search at dnc.org.nz and a company’s social media presence.
Scam reports increasing
Financial loss and harm through scams/fraud has increased this year, with over $35 million of losses reported to Netsafe year-ending June 2022.
From July 2021 to June 2022, there was almost a 25% increase in scam reports against the previous 12 months, driven by the proliferation of scams delivered by text messages.
Investment scams made up most losses followed by relationship and trust fraud. In addition to romance and online dating scams, there is an increase in reports involving the impersonation of family and friends.
Be scam aware
Typical scams include:
- Your parcel is being held at our warehouse due to an unpaid delivery fee you can fix this by visiting the website
- IRD “You are eligible for a tax refund if you complete your account application please visit here”
- Your license plate number is about to expire and gives an expiry date that is generally on the same day as the email is received.
The Domain Name Commission have a handy link to businesses and organisations which post about the latest scams targeting their brands https://dnc.org.nz/shopsafenz/latest-scams/
Cost of living pressures are a major focus for scammers. Here are a few other ways to protect yourself from scams:
- Don’t call them out. As entertaining as re-scamming is, doing it can anger a scammer and make you more of a target. It is better to use the correct reporting channel to Netsafe.org.nz and Police so we know what scams are doing the rounds. Don’t build rapport. Hang up. Remember that time we used Artificial Intelligence to Rescam the scammers? We are currently looking for a partner to help Rescam back online https://www.ddb.co.nz/work/rescam/
- Minimise personally identifying data posted online. Think about your online footprint. All information online is publicly available. Turn on your personal and security settings with any apps, devices or platforms you use.
- Check whether your email that you regularly use has been involved in a data breach at haveibeenpawned.com.
- Any age is susceptible to a scam, don’t give yourself a false sense of security based on your age. Scammers don’t discriminate when it comes to who they target, they take money from anyone.
- Don’t think because a scammer appears to be outside New Zealand that they can’t get to your money. Online is borderless and scammers are everywhere, even working in local communities. Recognise dialling codes like +44 (UK) or +11 (US) and ask yourself why would someone from that country ring? Reputable companies often pay for a free call 0800 phone number which can only be dialled from within New Zealand.
- Don’t click on phone number links and shortened website urls sent out of the blue by email or SMS. Forward SMS scams to free text 7726.
Safe online shopping involves establishing trust that the seller is who they say they are and identifying the tell-tale signs of a scam. With a little bit of care, we can all have a safe and positive online shopping experience.
Netsafe is available to all New Zealanders to help them stay safe online and is free to call on 0508 Netsafe 7 days a week 8am to 8pm weekdays and 9am-5pm weekends and public holidays. Our chatbot operates 24/7 to capture scam reports or report scams at https://netsafe.org.nz/reportanincident/