Protect yourself

Protect against investment scams

These financial scams can target anyone, but especially those who are looking to invest their savings. The scammers are tricky but there are some steps you can take to spot them and protect yourself.

What are they?

An investment scam is where you are offered an opportunity to invest your money in a financial product, but the opportunity is fake and the person who offered it is a criminal. 

Investment scams are often too good to be true, with little to low risk involved and abnormally high returns, and high-pressure tactics to convince you to invest a large amount or increase your investment. 

How to protect yourself

  • Resist the fear of missing out

    Scammers use high-pressure tactics to convince you to hand over large amounts of money. These tactics can include limited offers or short supply. For example, they may say the investment window closes in a few days or that the financial product is only available to the first 50 investors.

    Scammers use your fear of missing out to trick you into making a decision before you’ve had the chance to properly think about it or do your due diligence.  

  • Check the Financial Service Providers register

    In New Zealand, the provision of financial services is regulated, and financial service providers must be licenced and registered. This means that if something goes wrong, those providers are accountable to regulators and external dispute resolution services. 

    Financial Service Providers Register (companiesoffice.govt.nz) 

  • Get advice from the right place

    The internet holds a wealth of information, but not all of this is accurate or reliable. Use reputable sites when looking for information about financial products. 

    Sorted.org.nz 

    MoneyHub NZ 

    If you’re investing a significant sum, consider seeking professional financial advice.  

    Financial Advice New Zealand

  • Ignore cold call offers

    In New Zealand, it is illegal to offer unsolicited investments. If you were contacted out of the blue with an investment opportunity by an individual or organisation you don’t have a relationship with, it is almost certainly a scam. 

  • Treat overseas offers carefully

    Overseas services, including those online, are not subject to the same requirements as those in New Zealand and there may be limited things that can be done if anything goes wrong. Be very careful if you are investing or trading online or offshore – and only transfer amounts you are prepared to lose. 

  • Check warnings

    Check the Financial Markets Authority’s website to see if the company you are thinking about investing with has been the subject of any warnings.

    Warnings and alerts | Financial Markets Authority (fma.govt.nz)  

  • Don’t be fooled by copycats

    Scammers can create realistic documents, emails and entire websites that look exactly like legitimate financial service providers. This can include copying investment prospectuses and onboarding processes. Don’t assume an offer is genuine simply because it looks and feels professional. 

    Scammers will also impersonate actual financial service professionals, like individual bank staff members. If someone you are dealing with claims to be from an organisation, contact them through official channels to double check they are legitimate. 

  • Check email addresses and URLs

    Check that the email address contacting you is the same as the company’s website or . For example, if the company’s website is www.example.com, the email address the person contacts you with should end in “example.com” not “nz-example.com” or something similar. 

  • Double check payment instructions

    Call the investment provider on their publicly-listed telephone number and confirm the payment instructions before transferring funds. 

Get help

If you suspect you’ve sent money to an investment scam.

  • Stop contact with the person immediately.
  • Don’t send any more money (even if you’re being told more is required to release returns).
  • Ask your bank if it can recall the payments. 

Watch out for recovery room scams.

If you are looking for help recovering payments, be alert to ‘recovery room’ scams. In this scam, a third party will offer to help you recover your losses for a fee – but they will take your money and provide no service.  

Report the issue to CERT NZ

If you suspect you've been involved in an investment scam, report it to CERT NZ and we can help you figure out next steps.

Report an incident 

Alert The Financial Markets Authority

Also report investment scams to the Financial Markets Authority so they can warn others and take enforcement action against scammers. 

Report a scam | Financial Markets Authority (fma.govt.nz)