What this is
Online scams trick people into giving away their personal details, financial details, or money. A scam becomes fraud when a scammer gets your personal or financial details and uses them for their own gain, or receives money from you under false pretences.
How to protect yourself
Here's some steps you can take to reduce your likelihood of being affected by a scam.
Don’t share too much information online
Don’t give out too much personal information online, particularly on social media. Put privacy settings on your social media accounts and don’t add too many personal details to your profile.
If a friend asks you for money on social media, call or email them to confirm their request is legitimate — don’t pay without checking first.
Use two-factor authentication (2FA)
Turn on 2FA for all your online accounts to add an extra layer of security.
Create good passwords
Use strong, long and unique passwords on your online accounts. That way if the password for one of your accounts is leaked you’ll only need to update that one account – your other accounts will still be safe.
You can also use a password manager to help keep your accounts safe.
Don’t click on unusual or unexpected links
Don’t click on web links sent by someone you don’t know, or that seem out of character for someone you do know. If you’re not sure about something, contact the person you think might have sent it to check first.
Keep an eye on invoices
Don’t pay invoices for any goods or services that you didn’t ask for or receive, and be wary if a company you often deal with changes their account payment details unexpectedly. If you’re unsure about an invoice, call the business directly to check the details before you pay.
Above all, try to remember that if something seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
If you gave out some personal or financial details:
- contact the service provider for your online accounts – like your bank or your email provider. Let them know what’s happened and ask what they can do to help
- change the passwords for any online accounts you think might be at risk
- get a free credit check done. This will let you see if any accounts have been opened in your name. There are three main credit check companies in NZ, and you’ll have to contact all of them. You can ask to have your credit record corrected if there’s any suspicious activity on it.
Report the issue to CERT NZ
You can also report an online issue or security incident like this to us at CERT NZ.