Phone scammers get smarter and busier, CERT NZ report shows

Mar 21, 2024

More scammers are targeting New Zealanders over the phone, according to new data released by CERT NZ

Quarterly report OYO version 1

The latest Cyber Security Insights report shows a sharp spike in the number of fraudulent phone calls reported to CERT NZ during October to December last year.

Most of these were part of a campaign claiming to be from Immigration New Zealand and collecting visa information from people who spoke Mandarin.

“Scammers often try to imitate authorities like Immigration,” says CERT NZ Director Rob Pope.

“We also saw scammers take advantage of the holiday season to send out phishing links pretending to be NZ Post.”

New Zealanders also need to watch out for what’s called 'recovery room' scams. 

These target people who have already lost money to a scam. The scammers pretend to help while siphoning off even more money. 

New Zealand authorities such as the Financial Markets Authority have seen a spate of these in 2023, often involving large sums of money being lost. 

"We encourage people to report any online security incident they have experienced. Reporting helps us better understand how the bad guys adapt and improvise. When you report an incident, it gives us extra information which goes a long way in helping other New Zealanders stay safe from similar attacks,” Pope said.  

Recognise scam calls

A scam call is an unexpected call claiming to be from an organisation, like a bank, that asks you for personal details. Although you can’t prevent scam calls, there are things you can do to make sure you recognise one. 

Look out for the following.

  • An unexpected call from an organisation.
  • A sense of urgency to act now.
  • A request to download software, transfer money, or provide access to devices or accounts.

Learn how to recognise phone scams and what to do if you’ve been targeted

Report the issue to CERT NZ

You can also report an online or cyber security incident to us at CERT NZ.

Reporting form for businesses and individuals | CERT NZ

Read the full reports

The full Cyber Security Insights Report, alongside the Data Landscape and 2023 Annual Summary, are available on the CERT NZ website.

CERT NZ Cyber Security Insights Q4 2023

CERT NZ Annual Report Summary 2023