An internet safety organisation is warning Kiwis to be vigilant this Easter as data shows a 360 per cent jump in online incidents during the break since 2017.
Netsafe CEO Martin Cocker said during Easter many people connect online with whānau and hoa and share special memories on social media.
But it has also turned into the time of year when the internet is the most dangerous, according to the agency.
There were 160 scam reports made to the agency during the April holiday in 2017 and 736 in 2020.
Over the past four years, it means Kiwis have reported to Netsafe they have lost roughly $1.2 million during the Easter holiday period.
The extent of losses will be even higher considering not everything is reported to the agency.
Netsafe was alarmed to see just over half of reports it handled last Easter (52.9 per cent) related to "fake sextortion".
In these scams, fraudsters falsely claim to have hacked into a person's device to record them viewing pornography.
The email threatens to release the video to their contacts unless the victim pays a ransom.
In some versions of this scam, the phony email's subject line also includes the victim's password that they have used in the past for their online accounts.
"They are passwords that are stolen from other websites," Cocker said.
"There have been huge data breaches over the years."
Unfortunately, many people use the same password for more than one thing, he said.
Last year, there were 389 fake sextortion reports in comparison to just over 50 reports in the three years prior.
Cocker said the statistic may be high due to the alert level 4 lockdown during Easter last year.
International scammers became cognisant more people were at home online and set about targeting New Zealand.
Cocker said it is "no coincidence" that these scams were most often striking at the beginning of a weekend, particularly a long weekend.
The objective is to make people feel like help cannot be accessed as some services, particular globally speaking, will be closed on weekends and public holidays, he said.
"Netsafe is open every day except Christmas Day.
"If you ring Netsafe and say is this a scam? Then you will find out for certain."
It is distressing for people who receive those emails and do not realise it is a scam, he said.
It is possible to remotely access a computer and the password does belong to the victim, he said.
"All of it comes together to seem quite believable."
Other common Easter scams include fake online shopping sites, prize or promotional scams and phishing.
Debt collection for non-existent bills was another tactic used by con artists.
"It can be hard to get your head around this data because the idea that anyone would
intentionally cause harm during a holiday such as Easter doesn't sit well with most people," Cocker said.
Scammers are criminals who work around the clock to invent webpages, adverts and emails to rip people off and potentially steal their private details, he said.
Netsafe has developed advice specific to the Easter holiday and produced tips for people who want to stay safe online at netsafe.org.nz/holidayscams.
"So, it's a good reminder to be extra vigilant to unsolicited emails or giving personal information such as financial details."