198 million dollars lost to scams in the last year

Published: 13 November 2023

Just under $200 million dollars was lost to scams over the last year according to 11 of New Zealand’s largest financial institutions. The figure has been released as MBIE launches Fraud Awareness Week 2023.

This year’s efforts are focused on encouraging consumers not to fall victim to investment scams.

A joint social media campaign featuring the psychologist Nigel Latta has been created by MBIE and the Banking Ombudsman Scheme. This builds on the programme ‘You’ve been Scammed by Nigel Latta’, which broadcast on TVNZ earlier this year and is available on TVNZ on Demand.

The Financial Markets Authority has also created a social media campaign, in partnership with comedian Tom Sainsbury, illustrating what investment scams can look like.

Real investment offers don’t come out of the blue

MBIE’s spokesperson for Fraud Awareness Week, Ian Caplin, says scammers are targeting everyone across New Zealand, but especially those with savings or investments who are looking to earn a little bit more from their money.

“It’s important to remember real investments don’t just come out of the blue. If it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. If you receive unsolicited investment offers via email or through a ‘cold call’, ignore it. It’s illegal to sell financial products through these methods in New Zealand.”

“Investors can contact institutions directly through contact details on official websites to verify documents and payment instructions before sending any money. The FMA website also contains details of warnings and real-life examples of scams.”

“If you think you’ve been scammed, stop all contact with the scammer. Do not make any more payments and contact your bank immediately. Report all investment scams to the FMA, and scams in general to CERT NZ to stop others falling victim.

“If you don’t understand it, walk away. Before you make any investment, understand how the investment works.”

Interagency Fraud Working Group

Fraud Awareness Week is run by MBIE in its role as chair of the Inter-agency Fraud Awareness Group.

The Interagency Fraud Working Group includes members such as:

  • MBIE
  • Netsafe NZ
  • the Serious Fraud Office
  • Te Ara Ahunga Ora – Retirement Commission
  • the Financial Markets Authority
  • DIA
  • Police
  • the Banking Ombudsman Scheme
  • the New Zealand Telecommunications Forum
  • representatives from the banking industry.

Members work on operational and system enhancements to better protect consumers from scams.

MBIE media contact

Email: media@mbie.govt.nz