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Scammers using sophisticated cyber attacks against Kiwis


Te Whanganui-a-Tara – Cyber criminals are using sophisticated methods to trick trusting New Zealanders out of millions of dollars every year.

New Zealand banks have joined forces with CERT NZ, Consumer Protection, and Te Tari Taiwhenua Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) to warn Kiwis of new threats from scammers.

Using spoofed phone numbers, realistic dialogue and social engineering triggers, cyber criminals convince their targets to part with log-in details. Scammers are also sending text messages with links to fake websites or illicit software that harvest users’ account information.

New Zealanders are being urged to stay vigilant and take some basic steps to keep themselves safe from these predatory scammers.

•            If you are unsure whether the person calling you is legitimate, hang up and call them back using the organisation’s official phone number.

•            Turn two-factor authentication (2FA) on for your banking accounts.

•            Never share your password or two-factor authentication codes with anyone, including your bank.

•            Do not click on links in unexpected or suspicious text messages or emails.

•            Forward any suspicious text messages, free of charge, to 7726, this is a service run by the Department of Internal Affairs.

•            If you have clicked on a suspicious link or received a suspicious call where you have given over a 2FA code, contact your bank immediately and report it to CERT NZ.

The scammers are able to imitate, or spoof, bank call centre phone numbers and can accurately duplicate the script that a real call centre would use.

It can be difficult to tell the real from the fake. If people have any concerns about the legitimacy of a call the best strategy is to hang up, find the bank’s phone number from its website and call them back. This way people canbe assured the information is genuine.

Scammers rely on urgency and fear to make you react quickly without thinking. CERT NZ

says scammers will use a sense of urgency, hoping people won’t think clearly and will make a mistake.

Tactics used by scammers are getting more sophisticated as new technology develops. The advice to Kiwis to avoid being a target stays the same: be savvy, always question a link before clicking on it, and if something doesn’t feel right, report it.

People should always only access a bank account by visiting the bank’s website. Banks will never send a link to log into internet banking via text message. Forward any suspicious messages to 7726. This is a free-of-charge service run by DIA.

The more scams we are aware of, the more we can help New Zealanders stay vigilant and protect themselves and their whānau.