Each week the New Zealand Herald and Newstalk ZB's Cooking The Books podcast tackles a different money problem. Today, it's how scammers will try to get your cash, and what you can do to stop them. Hosted by Frances Cook.

Nigeria's royal family must be enormous.

It seems that every couple of months, a new Nigerian prince is emailing me his tale of distress; how he's inherited a lot of money and needs a trustworthy person like me to help him access it.

All I need to do is pay the fee to unlock the millions, and for my efforts I can get a couple of million myself.


Okay, so maybe we all know to avoid that particular scam, but far too many Kiwis are still caught out by scammers every year.

Just last week, scammers started sending out emails claiming to be from the IRD, and promising a large tax refund.

Clever timing, scammers. It certainly is tax refund time, but you should get yours by going to the real IRD website, not clicking links in unsolicited emails.

You'd be surprised at the people who get sucked in by these tricks. For every grandma whose computer confusion gets used against her, there's also a successful career person getting hoodwinked by con artists exploiting a chink in their armour.

Earlier this month, one fraudster even had a crack at scamming the cops.

It didn't exactly work.

The problem for the average person is that scammers are some of the smartest criminals around, and they have a lot of tricks up their sleeves to get you to lower your guard.

But you worked hard for your money, and those con artists need to keep their greasy mitts off it. So, how can your protect your money from scammers?


I talked to Superintendent Eric Tibbot and Inspector Marianne Whitfield from the police prevention team for the latest Cooking the Books podcast.

They said electronic scams were big business, such as phishing or love scams. But there were also scams done in person, where someone might turn up on your doorstep demanding payment for jobs around the house that were never done.

Tibbot said fraudsters often managed to trick victims that you wouldn't expect to be sucked in.

"They know behaviour, they know how to entice information from people, so they're very clever.

"So there's no reason to feel embarrassed, because these are smart people, craftsmen in the skills of being able to manipulate people."

Whitfield walked me through some common scam red flags, including the email address being slightly wrong, and the fraudster pushing for urgent action.


For the full tips on how to deal with scammers, listen to the podcast. Don't forget to warn your friends about what not to do.

If you have questions about this episode, or suggestions for the next one, come and talk to me online. I'm on Facebook here, and Twitter here.