“It couldn’t happen to me”

Across New Zealand, almost 9,000 cyber-crime incidents were reported in 2021, with a total loss of just under $17 million. This was up 13% on 2020, and that number is only expected to rise every year. 

At OneChoice, we work hard to make sure your personal information is secure. But no matter what processes and technology we have in place to help keep you safe, awareness will always be the best way to protect yourself against the rising threat of scams.

Okay, but what exactly is a scam?

An online scam could be disguised as an offer of easy money, a great bargain, exclusive knowledge or even a new relationship, all designed to trick you out of your hard-earned money or steal your personal information.

Scams can find their way to you in an email, SMS or instant messaging, on a dating website or social media platform like Facebook or Instagram, video calls such as Skype or FaceTime, online surveys, or even a USB drive posted to your address.

Have you been contacted by someone out of the blue? Have they promised you something, or asked you to do something for them? Be careful, it could be a scam.

Most scams fall into the following categories:

  • Buying or selling scams are designed to trick you into handing over your money for fake products or services, usually through fake websites that look like the real thing or by sending you authentic-looking bills or invoices for things you’ve never ordered.
  • Dating and romance scams lure people who are looking for a romantic partner with fake profiles, then use emotional triggers to trick or guilt them into providing money, gifts, or their personal details.
  • Fake charity scams often impersonate genuine charities, asking for donations that are linked to natural disasters such as the Christchurch earthquake of 2010/11.
  • Investment scams offer potential victims an opportunity to make money, such as fake property or business deals or a gambling system that “can’t-miss”.
  • Jobs and employment scams are designed to trick you into paying for exclusive training or guaranteed access to a dream role that you don’t have the qualifications or experience for.
  • Threats and extortion scams are often originated by scammers who pretend to be from the police or government, threatening to release sensitive information about you, imprison you, or even threaten your life if you don’t hand over money or your personal information.
  • Unexpected money scams involve promises of a large sum of money, such as an inheritance from a distant relative, but require you to hand over your personal information or pay a fee to release the funds.
  • Remote access scams convince potential victims to hand over control of their computer or other device, with scammers often pretending to be from your electricity or gas company, or internet or phone provider.
  • Unexpected win scams trick you into handing over money or your personal information in order to receive a prize from a lottery or competition that you have never entered.

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