How to spot a scam

3 MIN READ February 12, 2020
Unfortunately scams are not an uncommon thing in New Zealand and sometimes they can be difficult to recognise, particularly if you’re not familiar with how they typically work. We’ve put together a few common characteristics of scams so that you can be aware of when…

Promises are made

If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Often scams will offer or promise you something that sounds unbelievably good to entice you to engage. Things like fast, easy money or quick effortless solutions to your problems are often the bait of choice.

You’re asked to act

When you receive a scam email or phone call, whatever it is they’re offering you will usually involve some action on your part. They might ask you to open something on your computer, click a particular link, or give them some further information.

Note: you should never provide your pin numbers or passwords over the phone – it seems obvious, but even those who are aware of scams can still be duped into providing private information.

There’s a lot of pressure

Unless it’s a fairly elaborate scam, most of them will involve some kind of pressure put on you, whether they claim it’s very urgent or they use emotional blackmail. Scammers often pressure you to act right away and it’s important that you don’t give in to the pressure. If you’re unsure, tell them you’ll call them back or ask someone else what they think of the situation.

The wording doesn’t look right

This one applies mostly to email scams, but sometimes you can tell over the phone if someone is speaking unprofessionally. Keep an eye out for spelling mistakes or incorrect information in emails you suspect involve a scam, and if there’s a link within, don’t click it, just hover your mouse over it and the URL should come up in the corner of your screen. If it looks off and doesn’t include the legitimate website of the company, it’s likely a scam.

You’re asked for sensitive information

Most banks will often tell you that they will never ask you for your pin number or password over the phone, so if someone calls claiming to be from your bank and asks for this information, it’s likely a scam. Even if it seems legitimate, you can make sure by hanging up the phone and calling your bank directly to check.

Hopefully you never have to deal with a scam, but if you do, make sure you’ve read up on scams in New Zealand and you know the warning signs. If you’re not sure, you can always do a quick Google search of the company the caller/sender is claiming to be from and type ‘scam’ after it. This should bring up some information on scams that have happened in the past involving that situation or company and hopefully shed some light. If in doubt, hang up, don’t respond, don’t click links or act on anything until you are 100% sure it is legitimate.

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