Keeping yourself safe from scams, cons and rip-offs

Scams, cons and rip-offs are deceptive, uninvited contacts or promises designed to trick you into giving away your money or your personal information.

One in ten people approached by a scammer will hand over money. These victims will lose an average of almost $5000; some victims are losing tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars.

How can you identify a scam, con or rip-off ?

If an offer sounds too good to be true, or sounds unusual, it’s almost certainly a scam, con or rip-off. A bank or Inland Revenue will never ask you to confirm your password, credit card or account details.

Never give out your password, credit card or account details or discuss them with anyone.

Scammers can sound very convincing. Do not give out information about yourself to strangers – especially on the phone, at your door, or on your computer.

Put the phone down, close your door, or delete the email.

Genuine businesses won’t put pressure on you. They’ll be happy to prove who they are. They’ll let you speak to a manager, and they’ll give you time to consider what you want to do.

Check with your relatives or friends if you’re not sure whether something’s a scam, con or rip-off.

How can you keep yourself safe from scams, cons or rip-offs?

To help keep yourself and your family safe there is detailed information about scams, cons and rip-offs on the Consumer Affairs website. This includes information on how to identify scams, protect yourself against them and what to do if you’ve been scammed.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner has useful information on their website including a free online tool to protect yourself against identity theft. This includes a set of five advice cards to help people keep their information safe.

The cards are:

  • Protecting yourself against scams
  • Keeping your information safe online
  • Keeping your financial information safe
  • You control your health information
  • Your personal information is valuable.

Many community organisations - such as Neighbourhood Support, Age Concern, Grey Power, Senior Net and Citizens Advice Bureau - will have stocks of the cards.

You can also order them directly from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner at: enquiries@privacy.org.nz.

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