The country's largest bank is warning people to be vigilant after seeing a more than 200 per cent increase in the number people falling victim to scams this year.

ANZ bank said it had seen a 206 per cent increase in scams in the year to September - compared to the prior year and December had also kept its fraud team busy.

Mike Bullock, chief operations officer at ANZ New Zealand, said just because New Zealanders took a holiday at this time of year did not mean fraudsters did.

"In fact, fraud tends to rise at this time of year with all the buying and selling and
movement across the world."


Bullock said the bank was seeing a spike in the 'catch the hackers' scam at the moment where people received a call supposedly from their telecommunications company technician who says their computer or modem has been hacked.

"They are then connected to the cybercrime department of a reputable organisation and told that, in order to catch the hacker, they need to send an international money transfer."

The person is told to download remote access software and then log in to their internet banking allowing scammers to remotely access the computer, obtain log in details and steal funds.

"The criminals who run these scams aren't amateurs working out of their garages,"
Bullock said.

"They're big international businesses which hire experts to investigate and impersonate the way trusted companies communicate with individuals, and then manipulate that trust to get hold of personal and financial details."

Bullock said it was hard to protect people's financial data when they were the ones giving it away.

"But make no mistake: it's not hard to fall for these scams. We see a lot of astute, savvy people and businesses falling victim too."

Bullock said the fraudsters also often coached their victims on what to say to their banker
to disguise the real reason behind a transaction.


"We tell our bankers to trust their instinct if something doesn't seem right, to ask questions, and to request documentation where possible."

Bullock said if its customers fell victim it did all it could to try and recover the money.

"Sadly, though, because funds move so quickly these days, by the time we're involved criminals have often already received and withdrawn the funds. And that's heart breaking for everyone, especially at this time of year."


• Be alert for scams and remember the Fraud Week theme when considering offers: Stop and think – Is this for real?
• Stay safe while travelling: don't over share on social media and be careful on open Wi-Fi hotspots. They are not a safe place to do your online banking or use your credit card.
• Only shop at websites you trust and are certain are secure. You can make sure you're visiting the correct site by typing the URL directly into your address bar.
• Check email links before clicking on them: malware isn't a holiday gift you want! If you hover your mouse over a link (or click and hold the link on a mobile device) it will show you where that link takes you, helping you check it's a legitimate link.
• Keep your new toys safe, making sure all electronic devices have a secure password and anti-virus software installed.