Fraud Awareness Tips for Holiday Season

scammers

Last week was Fraud Awareness Week, which serves as a great reminder to be aware of new and sophisticated scams. In the lead up to Christmas, scammers know that people are anticipating parcels and purchasing items online.

With fake shopping websites and parcel delivery scams becoming harder for even the most digital-savvy of us to spot, Metlifecare worked with Bronwyn Groot, fraud investigator and educator at QRisk, to provide her top tips to steer clear of scammers during the festive season, and she came up with these five great tips to share with residents.

  • Parcel delivery scams:  Watch out for phishing (email) or smishing (text messages) pretending to be from courier companies or delivery agents.  They will usually say there is some delay or unpaid charges and they will get you to click on a link.  The link may take you to a fake website where you’ll be asked for your personal details and credit card information.
  • Online shopping scams: Found the perfect pair of shoes or present online? Scammers post fake ads, auction listings and very cleverly designed fake websites.  Be cautious if the price looks too low, or if it is an item that is sold out or unavailable anywhere else. It may be a sign of counterfeited goods or be an online store that does not exist.  Google the company if you haven’t heard of them previously to check online reviews and see how well established they are. Avoid any arrangement with a stranger who asks for up-front payments, via money order or international wire transfer.
  • Be aware of phone calls from your ‘telco’ provider saying that there is an issue with your internet: Never give remote access to your computer if someone cold calls you out of the blue – even if they sound trustworthy.
  • Holiday accommodation scams: There are lots of fake accommodation vouchers, scam travel clubs and scammers asking for upfront deposits for properties that aren’t available for rent.  Enter the property details into Google, ensure you’re using the official Airbnb website and always ring a New Zealand number to confirm.
  • When signing up for free products ALWAYS read the term and conditions in full: Don’t skip this step, as you may find you are signing up to an expensive subscription that could be hard to stop or retrieve your funds.