BNZ wants Kiwis to talk about scams

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) today reveals new research that says a quarter of all New Zealanders who fall victim to scams are not telling anyone at all.

Furthermore, the number of people falling victim to scams who are not reporting it has risen to 61% (up from 58%).

The new numbers come as BNZ launches Scam Savvy week where, starting from November 2, the bank is encouraging people to visit BNZ branches or go to to learn how to be safer online and avoid being scammed.

Ashley Kai Fong, Head of Financial Crime at BNZ says, “Don’t suffer in silence. If you’ve been scammed, please talk to someone. Tell your bank, tell the police, Netsafe or Cert NZ, tell a family member or a friend.

“By talking with your bank as soon as possible, we can be more effective in getting your money back,” says Mr Kai Fong.

By the numbers*

  • 78% of New Zealanders have been the target of a scam
  • 61% of New Zealanders who have fallen victim to a scam have not reported it
  • Quarter of New Zealanders fall victim to a scam and don’t tell anyone
  • 59% of New Zealanders want to learn more about how to avoid being scammed

Top 5 Scams in New Zealand*

  • Fake lottery, prize or grant scam: 40% (41% last year)
  • Tech scam phone calls: 36% (39% last year)
  • Nigerian letter fraud: 30% (31% last year)
  • Inheritance scam: 21% (24% last year)
  • Pretending to be government services: 20% (25% last year)

Mr Kai Fong says that banks and many other organisations have sophisticated ways of identifying and stopping scams, but the first and most important line of defence is the individual.

He says, “Scammers have improved their methods over the years, but they all have tells that giveaway fraudulent behaviour. These include pressure to act or pay quickly, requests not to tell anyone, offers that are too good to be true, poor grammar and strange-looking email addresses.

“Getting clued up to the types of scams out there and the ways to identify them is the best way to avoid being scammed. That’s why we’ve developed the BNZ Scam Savvy tool to help New Zealanders be safer online,” says Mr Kai Fong.

The BNZ Scam Savvy tool takes people through a range of common scam scenarios and identifies the red flags that can help make someone aware they are being targeted by a scam. This year BNZ has also launched a Scam Savvy tool for businesses.

“Scammers are increasingly targeting businesses because the amounts of money involved are typically larger,” he says.

During Scam Savvy week BNZ is encouraging people who can’t get online at  to go to its branches to join a Scam Savvy education session from its trained BNZ team.

“We want as many people as possible to get Scam Savvy a go and become more confident online,” says Mr Kai Fong.

What BNZ sees

  • Total number of scams rose this year (FY20)
  • PC / Tech support is the number one scam hitting BNZ customers, followed by invoice scams and bank impersonations
  • Although PC / Tech support was number one this year, it fell in number likely because of increase in bank impersonation scams (scammers switching methods as more people got wise to the Spark Scam)
  • Big jump in online and bank impersonation scams (both up around 75% in FY20 compared to FY19)