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'Spam' messages are any kind of messages you receive that you didn't ask for, and don't want. They're usually ads, and most often will appear in your email or on your phone.

What it is

The term 'spam' refers to any commercial messages you receive from an individual or a company that you didn’t ask for. You can get spam sent to you through:

  • email
  • text
  • instant messaging service.

How it works

Most spam is annoying, but it’s harmless. It’s a bit like junk mail – it’s usually sent to advertise products or services that you didn’t ask for, and don’t want.

However, in some cases spam can be . It can be sent with the intention of gaining access to your personal or financial details, which is called .

Learn about phishing email scams

Get help

If you’ve received spam and want to make a complaint about it, you can report it to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

They’re responsible for making sure that the Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 – which protects people from spam – isn’t breached. They investigate reports of spam and take action against the person or company who sent it.

If someone is found to have knowingly sent spam, DIA can:

  • give them a formal warning
  • ask the sender to agree in writing that they won’t send spam again
    fine the individual or business responsible for sending the spam – if they pay the fine, no further action will be taken
  • take them to court.

How to report spam to the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA)

You can forward spam you’ve received by text free-of-charge to DIA at 7726, and they’ll contact you with details on how to complete a report.

Report spam to DIA