Middle-aged adults are just as likely to have lost money through scams as the elderly, new research from BNZ has found.

The research suggests those aged 35 to 44 years old were specifically at risk of losing money when buying, selling or donating goods or services online, and through inheritance scams.

BNZ's head of financial crime, Ashley Kai Fong, said scammers and their schemes were becoming increasingly manipulative and sophisticated.

"New Zealanders think the elderly are most vulnerable to scammers, but it's busy parents in the 35–44 year-old range who are losing money to scammers too.


"[Scammers] prey on our desire for convenience, the time-poor and those whose attention is pulled in several directions."

Fifteen per cent of Kiwis who lost money to scams failed to tell anyone about them and more than half who fell victim - 58 per cent - did not report the crime.

Meanwhile, 13 per cent of New Zealanders reported they were hesitant to go online due to the fear of being scammed, the research found.

The findings were worrying, Fong said.

"There's a tidal wave of scams hitting New Zealanders. Scammers are taking advantage of good people and Kiwis are drowning and not putting their hand up for help.

"Cutting yourself off from the digital world can do more harm than good as we know being connected to family and friends is important to people's overall wellbeing."

To help fight back against scammers, BNZ staff will be operating Scam Savvy sessions throughout the country this week.

Staff will visit local schools, malls and local communities as well as hosting sessions in its branches and partner centres.


But you do not need to be a BNZ customer to take part, Fong said.

"Scammers look and feel like the organisations many of us interact with each day, but
there are tell-tale giveaways that we want all Kiwis to be wise to.

"Anyone can attend a Scam Savvy session by contacting their local BNZ branch or visiting malls in the main centres between 9am and 5pm over the course of the week."

Of the 81 per cent of Kiwis who had been targetted by a scam, the top five were:

• Fake lottery, prize or grant scam.
• Tech scam phone calls (no computer access).
• Nigerian letter fraud.
• Scams masquerading as government services or departments.
• Inheritance scam.

The research was conducted by BNZ with my2cents, a financial services online panel.