Top 5 scams impacting New Zealanders


New Zealanders are being bombarded by scam activity with nine out of ten people reporting having been targeted by a scam. In November 2023, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment reported $198 million had been lost to scams in the past year. Financial losses to scams are widely reported, but the social costs are also significant. Impacts include undermining one’s sense of security, feelings of shame and embarrassment, reputation damage and decline in online confidence.

The most prevalent scams targeting Kiwis include phishing, investment scams, invoice scams, bank impersonation, and online shopping scams.

Learn more about how these scams work and our top tips to be scam-savvy:

Phishing scams

Phishing remains a persistent threat, with scammers using every trick in the book to get you to reveal personal information including login details, passwords, and credit card details. Common tactics include urgent requests via fake emails, text messages, or links to websites that mimic legitimate businesses, requesting personal or financial details.

Top tips:

  • Never click on a link or attachment from someone you don’t know or that you aren’t expecting. To see where the link goes without clicking on it, hover over it to reveal the link’s true destination in the status bar at the bottom of your web browser. On a mobile phone, tap and hold to preview links.
  • Always log into your banking by typing the web address into the address bar, or using your banking app.
  • Be wary of urgent requests – scammers will try to create a sense of urgency to make you panic. Pause and think before you act.
  • Be wary of messages that don’t use your name, or aren’t addressed to you personally.

Investment scams

Investment scams differ from the usual ‘out of the blue’ scams as these offers don’t come from seemingly nowhere. Most often these scam victims have been searching for investment opportunities online and have entered their details into a website so that ‘investment companies’ can make contact. Now that you are expecting the call, scammers will contact you with various offers including managed funds, investment packages, cryptocurrencies, businesses, or properties.

They will urge you to invest quickly so you don’t miss out, they will guarantee above market returns, and they might even tell you to keep this amazing opportunity to yourself.

Top tips:

  • Legitimate investment comparison websites usually link you to the companies offering investments. They won’t capture and pass on your details to someone claiming to be an ‘advisor’ or ‘broker’.
  • Contact investment firms through their official New Zealand-based websites.
  • Never contact investment firms through online contacts, emails, links, or phone numbers sent to you directly or found on other websites.
  • Ensure the investment firm is licensed by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) before moving any funds.
  • Check the FMA’s warnings and alerts page on their website.
  • If it looks too good to be true, or if it feels wrong, it probably is.

Invoice scams

Businesses are frequently targeted by invoice scams, where scammers send fake invoices in the hope of receiving payments for non-existent goods or services. The scammers exploit trust and familiarity, often impersonating legitimate suppliers or service providers and altering the bank account where payment is to be made.

Top tips:

  • If you receive an invoice with new payment details, contact the supplier on a number that you already know or via the phone number on their website before making payment. Scammers may have intercepted their email, and updated the contact details on the invoice. So it’s best to check the details and reconfirm before making payment.

Bank impersonation scams

These scams involve fraudsters posing as employees of banks and other financial institutions with the aim of getting your personal information or money. These scams often involve urgent-sounding messages or calls, often from the bank’s “fraud” department, creating a sense of panic to lower your defences and prompt immediate action. They are often variations of “your bank account has been accessed”, “a payment has been made from your account. If this was not you, call us urgently on xxx”.

These scams are very convincing and incredibly hard for New Zealanders to detect.

Top tips:

  • Pause and think before you act.
  • Are you expecting this call?
  • If in doubt, hang up and contact your bank immediately on the number on their official website, or the number on the back of your card.

How to know it’s us:

  • BNZ will never email or text you a link to online banking and ask you to log in.
  • BNZ will never send you a text message with a link to a website, or link to call us.
  • BNZ will never ask you for personal banking information, such as your bank account number, password, or PIN.
  • BNZ will never ask you to transfer money to help catch a hacker or a bank employee who is scamming customers.
  • BNZ will never ask you to download software to access your Internet Banking remotely.
  • BNZ will never use international numbers to call you.
  • If in doubt, hang up and contact your bank immediately on the number on their official website, or the number on the back of your card.

Online shopping scams

The convenience of online shopping continues to gain popularity in New Zealand. Global sales events such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday are taking off and with this, customers’ expectations of a “bargain” can disguise “too good to be true” deals on popular products and lower their defences.

Online shopping scammers often hide behind fake websites designed to be exact replicas of the brands we know and love. When you search on Google or click on a web ad and purchase that bargain, the product may never arrive.

Top tips:

  • Shop via secure websites and with sellers you trust. The URL of a secure website will start with ‘https’ or the address in the browser will show a padlock symbol indicating a secure website.
  • Never save your details at checkout for a faster shopping experience next time.
  • Do your homework. Look at reviews to see what others have said about their shopping experience and to confirm they’re genuine.
  • If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

The best defence against scams is you.  If you know what to look for, and can recognise the signs of a scam, you’re less likely to fall victim.

We encourage people to take a look at the tools available online and refresh themselves so they can be better protected BNZ Scam Savvy (, and for information on the scams we are currently seeing visit

If you think you’ve been scammed or have parted with your financial information, contact your bank immediately.

Finally, if you do one thing after reading this article, we recommend automating the updates to your computer and phone security software.

This article is solely for information purposes. It’s not financial or other professional advice. For help, please contact BNZ or your professional adviser. No party, including BNZ, is liable for direct or indirect loss or damage resulting from the content of this article. Any opinions in this article are not necessarily shared by BNZ or anyone else. References to third party websites are provided for your convenience only. BNZ accepts no responsibility for the availability or content of such websites.