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Year of the Scam

CERT NZ reveals that 2022 was the country’s worst year for digital fraud.

28 March 2023

Before your click on that warning that your banking password has been compromised (or get a message from an attractive stranger looking for love) consider this – $20 million worth of financial losses due to scams were reported last year. And this constitutes the highest reported loss on record for a single year.

Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT NZ) received 8,160 reports of fraudulent online behaviour last year, which was slightly lower than the year before. But there was a 19 per cent increase in the financial losses suffered, with scams involving unauthorised money transfer making up the largest category with $5.9 million in losses.

CERT NZ director Rob Pope says that the figures are a cautionary tale; and that it’s always important to stop and think before acting on any unsolicited messages.

“It’s always wise to just pause, take a moment and think about if the investment opportunity, bank warning, or romantic engagement is legitimate or not. Call the organisation on an official number, scout online to see if their photos have been taken from someone else; a little bit of work can avoid the heartache of losing your hard-earned money. All of this will go a long way to reducing these significant financial losses.” Phishing and credential harvesting (16%), scams & fraud (21%), and unauthorised access (23%) accounted for the greatest numbers of reported fraud, but extortion and blackmail also increased.

These are often related to romantic fraud; so it pays to be mindful when looking online for love.

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