Frauds & scams

We're helping Kiwis to get savvy on fraud and scams. Below are some helpful hints on how to spot a scam. 

CFFC Little Book of Scams preview2

To order print copies of the Little Black Book of Scams, please visit (towards the bottom of the page).


Cold calls or unsolicited phone scams 

You may get a call from someone claiming they’re from your bank, the council or from a government department. They may even say they are a representative from your telephone provider.

Their tone will be friendly and they will talk with a sense of urgency or use fear to get you to part with your personal and/or bank account details.

If you get one of these calls, take a breath. Give yourself time to think things through and don’t be rushed. Then tell the caller that you’re busy and will call them back later.

  • Don't share any personal information over the phone.
  • Don't give anyone bank account details over the phone.
  • Don't disclose your PIN or PASSWORD to anyone.
  • Do ask for the person’s name and contact details, and then ring and check the offer with the legitimate business using their 0800 number – not the number the caller has given you.

Phishing emails

Phishing emails are on the rise and it looks like we’re going to see a lot more of these.

Millions of phishing emails are sent each day in the hope people will click on one of the ‘links’ and share personal information.

The emails are usually slick in presentation and well prepared. They often prompt you to “update” contact details or “verify” your password. Once you click on the link, any information you enter will be gathered and used for fraudulent purposes. Your computer can also be infected with some pretty nasty malware (malicious software).

To check the email address, use your mouse cursor to hover over the link without clicking on it.

Mark the email as spam or junk, block (the sender) and delete it.

Fraud and scams example 


CEO scams

Scammers impersonating the boss use a sense of urgency to trick a staff member into believing they urgently need to pay a bill.

This month one of our own team members received the email below from someone pretending to be our CEO, Diane Maxwell.


From: Diane Maxwell []
Sent: Wednesday, 31 January 2018 12:37 PM
To: Simon 
Subject: Enquirer

Do we have limit on same day transfer ? i have some payments i need you to process today.

Diane Maxwell

Sent from my iPhone

Remember, scammers are actively looking to build a profile about you and your colleagues. Don’t be complacent and think “no-one will be interested in my online posts”.


Tactics Used By the Scammers

It pays to know what behavioural triggers scammers are looking to manipulate.

  • Offers of a huge prize or a lucrative return on an investment often result in victims being persuaded to invest or pay processing fees.

  • Claims that scammers are linked to credible organisations such as banks, government departments or other trustworthy institutions.

  • Creating the appearance that large numbers of people are interested, giving victims security that “if everyone is doing it  - it must be good”.

  • Making the object or investment exclusive or rare. “If you don’t want to invest – there are other people that will”.

  • The scammer may play the role of someone who is friendly by saying “we have a lot in common”, “I have nothing to gain” or “Trust me, I wouldn’t set you wrong.”



If you have been the victim of a scam, notify your bank straight away. They will determine what procedures need to be followed.

Report the Scam, either to New Zealand Police, Netsafe or CERT.

Even though you may feel embarrassment, it is important to report the scam and help avoid it happening to others. New Zealanders need to know what scams are doing the rounds and how big they are. The only way we can know that is if it is reported.

If you have been victim to a scam, don’t be too hard on yourself. Scammers are experts at what they do and rely on people’s busy lives to distract them from the intent of their emails.

Remember there have been many victims, from CEO’s of large companies to Investment fund managers, politicians, University professors even Police officers.

Don’t blame yourself – put the blame firmly where it belongs, with the scammers.  They are the ones who went out of their way to trick you.


More information

For more information on frauds and scams please visit:


Latest news

14 February 2018
tvnz logoOlder New Zealanders warned to watch out for Valentine’s Day online dating scams. Diane Maxwell, Retirement Commissioner, discusses the issue on Seven Sharp. Watch now.

14 February 2018
nzherald logoToday may be Valentine's Day but for one widow the search for love led to a scammer who took her life savings of nearly $600,000. Read more.

14 February 2018

radiolivelogoScams prey on the lonely on Valentine's Day. Bronwyn Groot, Fraud Education Manager at CFFC, joined Wendyl Nissen to discuss ways to avoid getting ripped off. Listen now.

08 February 2018

rnz logoScammers and fraudsters are targeting both young and old in increasingly sophisticated ways. CFFC's Fraud Education Manager Bronwyn Groot talks to Nine To Noon about how to avoid getting ripped off. Listen now.