This week is Fraud Awareness Week and New Zealanders are being urged to stop and think, as studies show they are losing almost 15% more to scammers than they did last year.
New Zealanders are on track to lose about $70 million in fraud-related scams this year, according to Banking Ombudsman Nicole Sladden. However, she suggested, the true scale of the losses may never be known.
“Some industry commentators estimate $500 million is probably a more accurate figure,” she stated. “A lot of scams go unreported, either because the amount is quite small, or embarrassingly large, or people feel there is nothing the banks or authorities can do to help them.”
Sladden mentioned a report from non-profit organisation NetSafe, which shows that scam losses are almost five times higher than last year and this is just for reported cases. It points to almost 8,000 New Zealanders, who reported a scam to the organisation, with more than $24.7 million lost to scammers.
She also cited figures from the New Zealand Police’s Financial Intelligence Unit, which estimate $27 million in scam losses over the last 18 months.
Additionally, the Banking Ombudsman Scheme commissioned television and radio commercials highlighting simple steps to beat scammers at their own game. The campaign will run from November 11-17.