One New Zealand bank says impostors are offering fake interest rate deals and another is warning of a surge in Christmas scams.
The Co-operative Bank this week alerted its customers to a suspected new fraud scheme.
“We’re aware of a recent investment scam with customers receiving unsolicited phone calls claiming to be a staff member of The Co-operative Bank offering high interest rates within a very short period,” the bank told its app users.
Co-op Bank said customers receiving any approaches of this nature should call the bank.
With the official cash rate (OCR) still at 5.5 per cent, and expected to stay there until perhaps 2025, term deposits and high-interest-rate savings accounts are popular with many Kiwi investors.
Other con artists were expected to target Christmas shoppers.
“Scammers love Christmas,” Westpac told its app users today.
“They may ask you to pay for online goods that are never delivered. Sellers can also be duped with payments that never arrive.”
Westpac said people should be wary if an online seller’s profile was new, and had bad feedback and limited friends.
“Be wary if you’re asked to complete a trade off-platform.”
And Westpac said people shouldn’t expect to rely on emails, texts or screenshots as proof of payment.
“A lot of parcel delivery phishing happens over Christmas too. It starts with a false parcel text and includes a link to track the delivery, or to pay a fee,” Westpac added.
But those links could lead to sites designed to steal credit card details or install viruses.
Westpac urged people to also be wary of anybody demanding extra money to “release” parcels.
“If you’re expecting a parcel, confirm any correspondence is coming directly from the retailer or courier before taking action.”
Government cybersecurity agency Cert NZ has recommended online shoppers keep an eye out for fake websites and fake sellers while searching for bargains.
Earlier today, NZ Police warned the public to watch out for Christmas thieves.
“With Christmas shopping ramping up and increasing online purchases, ensure you have your packages delivered to a secure location like your workplace, or the rear of your property, or select a time you will be at home for delivery.”
Supermarket loyalty scam
Meanwhile, Scamwatch NZ said a fake loyalty card website had been preying on Kiwis.
The alleged scam appeared to impersonate supermarket chain Countdown with offers of $1000 compensation for completing a survey.
“We hate seeing Kiwis being targeted like this,” said Scamwatch NZ, which is a Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment service.
Scamwatch said the scam in question had spelling mistakes and other giveaway signs.
But scam detectors cannot always rely on those kinds of rookie mistakes.
Last month, Microsoft said scammers could use artificial intelligence to outsmart people using the old strategies of checking for spelling mistakes or poor grammar in phishing scams.
John Weekes is online business editor. He has covered courts, politics, crime and consumer affairs. He rejoined the Herald in 2020, previously working at Stuff and News Regional, Australia.