Te Whanganui-a-Tara – A major investment scam is targeting New Zealanders seeking financial advice.
CERT NZ, New Zealand’s computer emergency response team, is aware people have lost millions of dollars to this scam in the last two weeks.
The scammers are using Google Ads to target potential investors. People searching for terms such as term deposit comparison nz are then shown an Ad from a malicious site claiming to offer advice on investments. The site is used to harvest details on individuals.
CERT NZ’s manager of threat and incident response Jordan Heersping says the scammers were using sophisticated social engineering tactics alongside some convincing fakes.
The scammers then call the targets claiming to be from the investment team at a New Zealand-based financial institution and send a fake investment prospectus.
The target is followed up with numerous phone calls and emails with fake contracts and instructions on how to send money.
Some individuals have also been given a fake investment portfolio website to check their investments, Heersping says.
“These fake sites even require a login before showing a balance specific to the target, giving people a false sense of security and potentially sending more money to the scammers.”
None of the websites or email addresses used by the scammers are official sites of the banks.
He says if people believe they may have been caught up in this scam then immediately contact their bank.
“Use their official phone number or website. The banks are aware of this scam and their fraud teams are on alert to help you, but the sooner you act the better.”
“If people have seen or interacted with these malicious sites, report them to CERT NZ so that they can work to get them taken down.