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The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Services › Anti-Spam › Reported Scams

This page has been established to notify members of the public about 'real time' spam-related threats and scams that might affect people in New Zealand. The following scams were reported to the Anti-Spam Compliance Unit. The scams range in format - from email and SMS (short message service i.e. text message) scams, to phone (verbal), fax, postal (letters), and online scams (from trading or social networking websites).
    Note: The list does not cover all scams currently circulating. See the Scam Alerts section of Scamwatch for information about scams that have been notified to the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, or have been publicised in the media.

    See the Results and Statistics page for information about the number of spam complaints and scam reports we receive each month, and the number of formal warnings and infringement notices issued.

    How to Report a Scam

    Department of Internal Affairs

    If you would like to report email and SMS text message-based scams*, and spam (unsolicited electronic messages) with fraudulent content, you can do so by completing a web form on the Department of Internal Affairs'
    Spam Complaints page.

    *SMS text message-based scam complaints need to be sent to the short code '7726 (SPAM)' before the web form is completed. Once it has been submitted, you will receive a response containing a complaint reference number that can be entered into the Spam Complaints web form. This means the Anti-Spam Investigators can view the original scam and match the complaint details to the message.

    If the message is commercial in nature it falls under the
    Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007. Please also submit a complaint if the message assists or enables a person to obtain, dishonestly, a financial advantage or gain from another person - refer to section 6 (a)(ii) of the Act. The content of spam may be illegal under other laws.

    Ministry of Consumer Affairs

    If you would like to report a scam, please visit the Ministry of Consumer Affairs'
    Scamwatch website (see the Report a scam section). Scamwatch provides comprehensive material on how to spot scams, how to protect yourself from scams, and how you can report a scam to help protect others.

    About Scams and Fraud Awareness

    Scammers will do anything to rip you off, so it's important to be aware of the different kinds of scams circulating - especially if you use email or a mobile phone. Learn how to identify scams, so you can protect yourself and others from harm. Be suspicious - any offer that sounds too good to be true probably is, so don't be fooled!

    'Phishing' emails pretend to come from a financial institution, such as a bank, and urge you to click a link to the company’s website and enter your bank account details, credit card information, password, passport information, home address, or even your IRD number. Many websites are clever fakes, and typing in your details could result in your bank account being emptied by fraudsters.

    Banks never contact customers by email and ask them to confirm personal financial information (they usually send mail that can be accessed via your online account or you will receive a letter through the post). Don't click on the links in these emails as your computer could be infected with a virus. If you do have an account at the bank, call them and verify the authenticity of the email first.

    Genuine mystery shopper companies do not recruit by sending unsolicited emails or letters. You need to register with the store of interest, provide a profile and they will contact you when work is available. A genuine offer will not involve you paying them to join, or them sending you a cheque for you to deposit some money in your bank account and send the rest through a Western Union account.

    See also: How to protect your identity

    How to identify scams

    Lots of scams can look genuine, and sometimes it's hard to tell that they're not real. If you're not sure, don't respond or click on links - look up their contact details and verify the authenticity of the communication.

    It might be a scam if:
    • you don't know the sender
    • it's addressed to 'My Dear' or something generic
    • there are too many grammatical or spelling errors in the email or SMS text message
    • the email address is a public service domain like Gmail / Yahoo / Livemail
    • a bank that you don't have an account with contacts you
    • you are urged to visit a website to update your account information or fill in a form with personal information
    • you're advised to act fast to claim money or some other prize in a lottery or competition that you never entered
    • you inherit money or possessions from someone you've never heard of
    • you receive a request from a stranger who needs your help (usually to send money)
    • someone on a social networking site asks you to send them money so they can pay debts or so that they can visit you.
    Never open emails that are from an unknown or dubious source. If an email requests personal information, do not proceed. If an email message includes a link, hover your mouse over it to see if it relates to the email. Always attempt to verify the authenticity of any email by independent means.

    See the Types of Scams section of Scamwatch for a full list of scams.

    Tips to avoid scams and spam

    Safeguard your email address and mobile phone number. Give your contact details only to people and organisations you know and trust. Consider asking your friends not to add you to their address books. If you're planning to forward an email to several recipients use the "BCC:" address field - this will prevent you revealing to all and sundry a list of email addresses which can be harvested by scammers.

    Do not put your email address or mobile phone number on any webpages, or use a separate email address for posting to newsgroups, bulletin boards and for performing online transactions that may involve your address being passed on to a third party. If a newsgroup or bulletin is publicly accessible there is a fairly good chance that your address will be 'harvested' and added to a spammer’s address database. If you have purchased something online or registered with an Internet site your email address may have been added to a mailing list that has then been made available to spammers.

    Don’t open emails that seem to be from a dubious source, or open email attachments you weren’t expecting. You should not respond to unsolicited mail unless you are confident it is a legitimate New Zealand company with an email address ending in ".nz". Only click a supplied "unsubscribe" link if you are confident the email is from a legitimate business. If you are suspicious of the sender, don't follow the instructions for unsubscribing - responding usually only serves to inform the sender that your email address is active, and you are likely to receive more spam as a result.

    Use an email address that cannot be easily 'guessed' by software that spammers use to automatically generate addresses.

    Even if you take all the precautions above you may still receive spam. If you are finding yourself bombarded with spam you can always change your email address. Sometimes it’s easier to start from scratch than fix a really bad spam problem.

    You can help stop the recurrence of New Zealand spam by reporting it to the Department of Internal Affairs. Simply fill in the
    Spam Complaints form and the Department will investigate it and take the appropriate action.

    Scam Awareness Week

    The Department of Internal Affairs is one of a number of partner organisations helping to promote the
    Scam Awareness Week campaign. Scam Awareness Week is a good reminder for all New Zealanders to beware of scammers and their constantly evolving tactics.

    Scam Awareness Week aims to raise New Zealander’s awareness about how they can spot scams, how they can protect themselves from scams, and how they can report a scam via the Scamwatch website to help protect others.

    External Links

    Disclaimer: The inclusion of links to third party sites are provided for the user's convenience only and does not imply any endorsement of the websites linked to, the information contained in those websites, nor the organisations providing that information. See our main website disclaimer and other legal information.

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