This quarterly report includes a snapshot of reporting for 2018.
It shows that New Zealanders reported over 13,000 instances of online scams and fraud and $33M in losses to Netsafe last year – up from $10.1M in 2017.
These are by far the largest losses that Netsafe has seen in the 20 years that we’ve been operating. Online scams continue to be a pervasive issue for New Zealand, and we believe that more co-ordination and support is needed to protect Kiwis. More than ever, we are seeing waves of scams hitting the country, with the fake sextortion scam being the most recent. The only way to protect people is through targeted public education and co-ordinated national efforts to disrupt scams in New Zealand, and we’re working towards both of these approaches.
Personal harm reports increased in 2018 too. We received close to 3,000 reports of personal harm in 2018, up 45% from the previous year. This isn’t surprising as we know that many people are affected by online abuse, but it is encouraging to know that more people are aware of and using the help service available.
Netsafe members receive our quarterly reports before they are publicly released. Membership is free, easy to apply for and it gives you and your organisation the opportunity to play a part in the development of online safety in New Zealand.
2018 Year in Review
Scam & Fraud
Online harm review
October – December 2018 Quarterly Reporting
October – December 2018 overview
Between October – December 2018, Netsafe received 28.8% more reports than the previous quarter. Reports have increased 82.9% from the same period in 2017.
TOTAL REPORTS (+28.8%*)
PERSONAL HARM COMPLAINTS (-5.6%*)
SCAM & FRAUD REPORTS (+66.6%*)
OTHER REPORTS (-21.5%*)
*percentage change based on reports made to Netsafe between 1 July – 30 September 2018.
Reports by age group October - December 2018
Overall reports to Netsafe by age group.
Reports by gender October - December 2018
Personal Harm Reporting
Between October – December 2018 Netsafe received 769 personal harm complaints. This is a 45% increase from the same period in 2017. Personal harm complaints to Netsafe between January – December 2018 total 2,957 and are up 45% compared to 2017 when 2,034 were received.
Top personal harm categories reported October - December 2018
Scam and Fraud Reporting
$7.3M in scam and fraud losses were reported to Netsafe between October – December 2018.
Reported losses for 2018 were $33M – more than triple the $10.1M reported losses in 2017. The average reported loss has also risen from $10,771 in 2017 to $21,285 in 2018. Over the last five years from 2013-2018, $76.2M in scam and fraud losses have been reported to Netsafe.
Scam reporting trends
Fake sextortion email scam: The fake sextortion email phishing scam has still been affecting New Zealanders in waves this quarter. Although there has been a large influx in reports, reported financial losses to this scam have been low. We believe that this is partly because many people do not understand how to make payments using Bitcoin.
How does the scam work? People receive an email that claims their computer has been hacked and that the scammer has recorded intimate recordings of them using a porn website. In some versions of this scam the email header also includes the victim’s password for their online accounts. The email demands that they send a payment (often as Bitcoin) to the scammer or claims they will send the recording to the victim’s personal contacts which they claim to have access to. Find out more about the scam on our website.
Scam & fraud snapshot October – December 2018
REPORTS WITH $ LOSSES
Scam & fraud snapshot January – December 2018
YTD REPORTED LOSSES
YTD REPORTS WITH $ LOSSES
YTD AVERAGE LOSS
Top scam categories reported July - September 2018
Education & Engagement Update
Sean Lyons, Director of Education and Engagement
In December we launched the ‘Don’t be a Nick’ campaign.
The Don’t be a Nick campaign was centred around image-based sexual abuse (IBSA), as research shows that IBSA is one of the most harmful types of digital communications. It was targeted at young people (16-22) who we know are amongst those who are disproportionately affected by the issue. Research shows that victim-blaming perceptions embolden perpetrators, stop victims seeking help and undermine bystander intervention, so the campaign focussed on changing perceptions and attitudes around IBSA. We looked at both local and international research in the space and our Netsafe Youth Action Squad were also consulted.
We aimed to use humour to discuss a serious issue in a disarming way, make it feel OK to speak up when seeing IBSA and create ways for young people to intervene as bystanders. The campaign was created by the Netsafe team with a bit of quirkiness to create something ‘shareable’ to extend our reach. Although the campaign was quirky and used humour, the message is still clear – it’s not OK to share someone’s nudes without consent. This puts the accountability squarely on the person on-sharing the nude, instead of focussing on the person in the nude image/video. The campaign ran for just under a week in December with great results. If you’d like to see the campaign content, you can do so at www.netsafe.org.nz/dont-be-a-nick
If you’d like to get in touch you can email me at [email protected]
Don't be a Nick
Netsafe Youth Action Squad (Y.A.S!)
The Y.A.S now meet every month to talk about online safety, give advice and to explore ideas about how to make the online space safer for young people in NZ. Find out more about the Y.A.S on our website, and keep up with their work by following Netsafe on Twitter or Instagram @NetsafeNZ
Netsafe Research Releases
Image Based Abuse Report
High level findings
- Overall, nearly 5% of adult New Zealanders said they have personally experienced image-based sexual abuse (IBSA) online.
- IBSA is more common among young adults, especially those aged under 30.
- In general, men and women were equally as likely to experience IBSA online, but the research indicates that the nature of the experiences differ.
Parenting and Pornography: findings from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom
Parenting & Pornography: NZ Report
High level findings
- Parents’ main online concerns are their children sharing nudes of themselves, being treated in a hurtful way, and seeing sexually explicit content.
- 1 in 5 parents said their children were exposed to sexually explicit content online in the prior year.
- Parents reported children’s exposure to sexually explicit content increased with age; and exposure to sexually explicit content was more common among boys.
Become a Netsafe member
Netsafe members receive our quarterly reports before they are publicly released. Netsafe is an incorporated society with members from across the country. Our members represent organisations with an interest in building confidence in using digital technology. Membership is free, easy to apply for and it gives you and your organisation the opportunity to play a part in the development of online safety and the use of digital technology right here in New Zealand.
Netsafe is New Zealand’s independent, non-profit online safety organisation. Taking a technology-positive approach to the challenges that digital technology presents, we work to help people in New Zealand take advantage of the opportunities available through technology by providing practical tools, support and advice for managing online challenges.
Find out more about Netsafe at www.netsafe.org.nz
The data in this quarterly report comes from reports/complaints made to Netsafe during the reporting period. The report is reflective of the data available for reports/complaints at the point in time that the data has been provided for the quarterly report – within six weeks of the quarter ending.
Reports/complaints are made to Netsafe by individuals, businesses and other organisations. The insights in this report come from high level reporting trends, and do not include easily identifiable information about specific reports/complaints.
- View the 1 July 2018 – 20 September quarterly report.
- View the 1 April 2018 – 30 June 2018 quarterly report.
- View the 1 January 2018 – 31 March 2018 quarterly report.
For media queries please email [email protected]
*percentage change based on reports/complaints made to Netsafe in the previous quarter of 1 July 2018 – 30 September 2018. If you have queries about the information in this report, please email [email protected]