Scam calls

When you get a call pretending to be from a bank or other organisation.

What they are

An unexpected call claiming to be from an organisation, like a bank, that asks you for personal details.  

How they work

The scammer is hoping you'll believe they are from a reputable organisation and will tell them enough details that they can either get into your account or impersonate you in another way.

Scam calls usually follow a pattern, although there may be some variations in how they go about it. Things to look out for include the following:

  • An unexpected call from an organisation. This can be a bank, a telco, or a government department.
  • The caller will say there is a serious problem, like a technical problem with your computer or a transaction on your bank account.
  • They will ask for personal details from you, such as full name, date of birth and address. They may also ask for bank account numbers or other details that could give them access to your accounts.
  • In some cases they may ask for remote access to your computer or for you to read out a code sent to your phone.

Scammers can hide where they are calling from using a technique called "spoofing". This is where the caller changes their phone number to look like a different one. Often the spoofed numbers the scammers use are usually actual phone numbers of random and unsuspecting New Zealanders, which makes them look authentic.

What to do

If you receive a call like this, hang up – being as polite as you like. If you are concerned that the call may have been valid, call the organisation back using an official number.

If you did hand over details to the scammer, especially financial details, contact the relevant organisation through their official channels as soon as you can. Also report it to CERT NZ.

Get help now