Running from 15–21 November, Fraud Awareness Week 2015 is part of an international initiative to raise awareness of scams and promote safe online practices.
Almost $800, 000 was lost last year from 35 small businesses that were hit by cybercrime with 140 reporting of ‘digital challenges’ (predominantly cybercrime and cybersecurity).
This number has almost tripled in 2015, with 309 incidents reported so far this year, although losses are slightly down.
Small Business Minister Craig Foss says there is a constant stream of new scams targeting businesses and they’re becoming increasingly sophisticated.
“It’s imperative for small business owners to get up to speed — and stay up to speed — on the types of scams doing the rounds,” Foss says.
“Employing a few simple online safety tips could be the difference between a successful business and a struggling one. No one wants to see their hard work, and all the time and effort they put into it, stolen.”
According to the government’s consumer affairs website the biggest scam threats to small businesses in 2015 were email scams, ransomware, spear phishing, invoice fraud and funding scams.
Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith says consumers need to be just as aware of fraud as business owners.
“If it doesn’t seem right, be cautious, double check the details first. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” says Goldsmith.
“If someone you have never met asks you for money it’s a scam — especially if they ask you to send it via a money transfer system like Western Union.
"Be careful if a friend or family member asks for money over the internet, their Facebook site may have been cloned.”
The New Zealand Bankers’ Association has also encouraged people to be increasingly vigilant of banking scams, with chief executive Kirk Hope saying everyone has a part to play in fighting against fraud and reporting scams.
“As more and more Kiwis are using multiple mobile devices, scammers too are adopting to trick people into handing over personal information,” Hope said.
“Only ever use your bank’s official application downloaded from trusted sources such as iTunes or Google Play. If you are accessing your bank’s website make sure it is via a secure connection.”