Money Editor for NZ Herald

Tamsyn Parker: Do you know the scammer's tricks?

Letters are just one way scammers can target potential victims. Photo/ Sarah Ivey.
Letters are just one way scammers can target potential victims. Photo/ Sarah Ivey.

We got one of those calls the other night - the one where a foreign-sounding man asks if your computer is running and says it needs to be checked for a virus.

It's a scam that has been running for years and most people are well aware of it.

My grandparents always have a chuckle when they get the call as they don't have a computer.

But every day there are people who get taken in by new scams whether it's a Facebook request from someone who appears to be your friend or lonely hearts who get tricked into handing over money through online dating.

Diana Clement's piece has some helpful tips on knowing the tricks to avoid getting caught out.

As Clement points out one of the easiest tricks is when someone gives you something for free.

People then feel obligated to give back.

I remember being convinced by my husband to go along to a timeshare presentation where we were offered a free camera or some vouchers in exchange for just listening.

We felt guilty turning down the timeshare and taking the "free gift", even though there was no way we could have afforded to buy into the scheme.

Check out Clements's article here to arm yourself for the future.

Bewildering Budget
When finance minister Bill English announced the details of The Budget a few weeks back I'll admit I was more focused on the potential hand-outs than the overall finances of the nation.

With baby number two on the way promises of extended paid parental leave had me pricking up my ears only to be disappointed with the news that the leave extension won't kick in until next year - too late for me.

But The Budget is very important for New Zealand and where we stand globally.

I remember a few years back when the international rating agencies were knocking on the politician's doors wanting to know if they would need to down-grade the country's credit rating due to the state of its finances.

That could have had a huge impact on many Kiwis if the cost of borrowing on the international market surged and we were forced to pay more for mortgages and other loans.

This time round it was all about the government's books being in surplus.

But understanding what that means in terms of the family budget is not that easy.

Thank goodness one reader took the plunge and asked Herald columnist Mary Holm to explain it this week.

Read her explanation on how it works here.

Super Access
Last week Helen Twose wrote about the challenges involved in Kiwis trying to transfer their KiwiSaver money to a superannuation provider in Australia.

Thanks to all those people who made suggestions on providers who might accept the money but unfortunately none have come up trumps.

As soon as we do find out who is accepting money we'll be sure to let you know.

Fortunately there was some good news this week for those who transfer their Aussie super money to New Zealand - it is possible to access it if you need to make a hardship claim.

Read about the details here in this week's KiwiSaver Q&A.

What do you think?

- NZ Herald

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Money Editor for NZ Herald

Tamsyn Parker is the NZ Herald's Money Editor. A business journalist for ten years, she has worked in the UK and NZ for the New Zealand Herald, the National Business Review and a specialist publication on investment products for financial advisors. She is passionate about helping readers learn more about to make their money work for them.

Read more by Tamsyn Parker

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