Elderly people across New Zealand are losing money hand over fist.
That's the warning from Age Concern Wanganui manager Tracy Lynn, who says old folk are being targeted by scammers.
The problem is they think they will be winning something and that it will solve their worries, she says.
"You can say what you like to some of these people to warn them, but it's their choice at the end of the day," Mrs Lynn said.
She tried to advise one woman that her regular payments to an overseas bank account were not helping anyone legitimate. But the woman did not want to know and continued to send money, finding - like many others - that the scams were compelling.
A guide has been launched to educate seniors about online scams. Get Online Savvy: A Guide for Seniors contains information on the types of scams targeting people over 50 years of age and tips on how to surf the internet safely.
Grey Power Wanganui president Graham Adams was not aware of any local seniors who had been tricked out of money but said they would probably be too embarrassed to say they had been conned. "We do our best through the newsletters and have stressed for years that there are all types of scams asking for pin numbers, and fake emails from the IRD and banks."
The guide was created by the Consumer Fraud Working Group, formed last year to better identify and publicise consumer scams, and the working group will roll out training material at SeniorNet workshops in the coming months.
Wanganui businessman Ian Jones was one person targeted by fraudsters this week.
Mr Jones, who runs Maxilab, received a call on Monday from a "lovely lady with a foreign accent, warning me that over the last three weeks someone had been trying to access our computer at home".
The only trouble with that scenario was that the family did not have a computer at home.
The woman - "Tina" - told Mr Jones she worked for Microsoft in Auckland.
"We had a lovely chat and she even gave me her phone number to check that this wasn't a scam."
Mr Jones then asked her where she lived but she could not understand the question.
"She wanted me to turn the computer on but I told her it was already going. Then she said to click on some little icon on the bottom left of the screen."
Realising she had been rumbled, the woman hung up.
Many others have not been so fortunate. Some seniors have lost thousands of dollars on fake lotteries, had their holidays ruined, been sold false tickets to big rugby games ... the list goes on.
Scamwatch spokesman for the Ministry of Business and Innovation, Jarrod Rendle, said people in the senior age group might have more money to invest or be seeking online business opportunities.
"They may travel more than other age groups and they may be more likely to have their personal details on databases."
Mr Rendle said this made them vulnerable to certain online scams, some of which were very sophisticated and appeared real.
"They aim to take advantage of those who are new to booking travel and accommodation online, are looking to invest overseas, or perhaps are less adept at using social media."
People who have been targeted or scammed can help prevent others becoming victims by reporting the incidents to www.scamwatch.govt.nz. The online guide for seniors is available at: www.consumeraffairs.govt.nz/scams/faw2013