Local neighbourhood support groups and residents in Horowhenua are warning about several new scams doing the rounds that may be more likely to fool victims.
One scam involves a phone call from a person claiming to be from a courier company, stating that a parcel is due to arrive at the target's house requiring a signature.
A person then arrives at the victim's house purporting to be a courier driver, delivering some kind of gift - a bottle of wine or similar - and claiming to have no card to show who the mystery gift is from.
The target of the scam is then asked to pay a small fee as a delivery 'verification' charge as it contains alcohol, to prove the item was not left on a doorstep where a minor could access it.
The fee is reportedly requested to be paid by debit or credit card only, with a small machine similar to an eftpos machine presented.
When the target's card has been swiped by the machine, the fake delivery person has skimmed a record of their details and can use the information to extract money from their bank account later.
The scam was being warned about in a local neighbourhood watch Facebook group, although it was not known if anyone in Horowhenua had directly experienced it.
A second scam involves older people being targetted by scammers knocking on their door and claiming to require updated details for their Gold Card.
Recently, hundreds of people around the country were sent an intricate email scam claiming to be from Inland Revenue, alleging a refund is owed.
The email said IRD had tried to send a payment automatically but did not have the recipient's details on file.
It then asks the recipient to click on a link and enter credit card details.
Consumer Protection NZ says scams are often characterised by several key aspects.
Most start with the target being contacted unexpectedly.
"If someone contacts you out of the blue – whether over the phone, through the post, by email, on a website, in person or on social media – always consider the possibility that it may be a scam," the organisation recommends.
Secondly, the scammer will likely promise something.
"Scammers offer exciting advantages to get you interested. They promise things like easy money, great bargains, inside knowledge or a caring relationship," CPNZ says.
Then the scam usually involves a target being asked to do something.
"Scams eventually lead to a request for money or personal information. Scammers ask you to do things like enter details on a website, answer questions in a survey, or pay upfront for what they have promised."
Examples of common methods used in known scams include asking the target to pay for something using iTunes or other store vouchers, pay in advance for something such as a prize or pay-out of money, pay upfront for an unexpected offer or membership, or settle an unexpected invoice.
Scammers also try and persuade targets to give them remote access to a computer, provide bank or credit card details, enter details into a website they have been directed to, or even pay to recover money already lost in a scam.
CPNZ recommends that the first thing to do if you discover you're being scammed is stop all contact with the scammer.
"It's important to be suspicious because scammers have ways of making their offers seem real. Scammers can convincingly imitate the logos and communication style of trusted companies.
"They are known to make fake websites, ID badges, letterheads and other materials to fool people into giving money or information. Just because the opportunity looks legitimate, doesn't mean it is," the organisation said.
For more information on protecting yourself and others against scams, visit www.consumerprotection.govt.nz or report a scam at report.netsafe.org.nz
Alternatively, call the police non-emergency number 105.