Protect yourself
Kia pare i a koe ki ngā tāware karere pātuhi

Protect yourself against text message scams

It’s best to act with caution if you receive a text message you're not sure about, or that you think might be a scam.

What it is

Text message scams try to trick you into providing personal information to scammers via a text message.

Text message scams

Here's what to do to make sure you don't get tricked by a text message scam.

How to protect yourself

  • Don't click on links

    Don't click on any of the links in a text message if:

    • it seems out of the ordinary, or
    • it comes from an organisation who wouldn't usually contact you by text.

    These links will most likely take you to an insecure website, where any of the information you provide could be accessed and used by a scammer.

    If the message claims to be from an organisation like a bank or courier company, contact them directly to confirm the text is real before you act on it. 

  • Don't download or install any attachments

    If a text message asks you to click a link to either download an attachment or install an update, don't. It could install , or ' ', onto your – like a virus, for example.


  • Make sure your settings are secure

    If you have an device, you can disable the ability to 'install unknown apps' in your settings. This means your device will only install apps or software from providers your manufacturer considers  trustworthy, like the Google Play Store.

    If you've enabled this setting in the past, it will stay enabled until you switch it off again – it's worth checking to make sure you have it disabled.

    The best way to keep yourself and your mobile device safe is to make sure this setting is switched off within any apps that have access to the internet, such as web browsers like Google Chrome.

Get help

Here’s what to do if you think you’ve been targeted by a text message scam.

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 – Centrix, Equifax and Illion. You can ask to have your credit record corrected if there’s any suspicious activity on it.

How to get a credit check report in NZ

If you downloaded or installed any software updates or applications:

  • do a on your device as soon as possible. This will delete any data on your phone, including personal data
  • if you can, restore your data from a backup made before installing the malicious software. Talk to your IT support person or a local computer services company if you need help to do this
  • change the passwords to all your online accounts, and make your online banking and email accounts your priority. If you're worried your banks accounts have been accessed by someone without your knowledge, contact your bank immediately.

Report the message to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA)

Forward the scam text message free-of-charge to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) at 7726. DIA will send you an automated response asking for the number that sent you the scam text so they can try to get it blocked. After you've sent them the number, delete the scam text message and block the number associated with the sender.

Report the issue to CERT NZ

You can also report an online issue or security incident like this to us at CERT NZ.

Get help now