It seems there are more email and phone scams than ever these days. Recently there was a week where I received a call almost every night from someone claiming to be from Microsoft or from Spark.
Spark says the fraudsters are becoming more aggressive. They will tell you that your services will be cut off due to security issues unless you change your settings or clean up your computer. They then try to direct you to a website where you will be asked to download software.
They will also try to get you to give them remote access to your computer, give them your personal banking information or leave your phone off the hook for three days following the "setting change".
Spark says it understands that in some cases people have been given a made-up "employee number" to verify their identity.
It says you should not visit the web page or provide any personal banking information.
If in doubt hang up and phone Spark on 123 to check.
There are some simple tips to help protect yourself from the fraudsters:
Here are links to pages with good advice on dealing with scammers:
Among the nastiest of the scams are romance scams.
It is estimated that last year New Zealanders lost $1.5 million dollars to these fraudsters. That is an average of $23,500 per victim.
The scammers will usually send a photo. The photo is typically one they have found somewhere online.
NetSafe has some advice on how you can download the photo and run a Google Images scam to verify who the person in the photo actually is.
Consulting firm PwC says New Zealand organisations have far less confidence in their own information security activities than they did a year ago.
Sixty-five percent of respondents are confident or somewhat confident that their security is effective. That compares to 83 percent last year.
PwC cyber practice leader Adrian van Hest says that while confidence has dropped, it is likely to be a more accurate picture of real versus perceived risk.
He believes that as companies increase their efforts in this area they become more aware of the risks.
But being confident you are taking the right steps to protect your security does not mean those steps are effective.
"There is no magic bullet for effective cyber security," says Mr van Hest.
He says it is not just about technology. People skills and having the right processes in place are important too.
The New Zealand dollar has made gains overnight.
It was trading at 66 US cents at 8am, a rise of 0.8 percent.
The Kiwi was trading at 91.76 Australian cents.
It had gained 1 percent against the Euro, sitting at 58.68 Euro cents.
The Kiwi had risen 0.33 percent to 43.10 Pence and was trading at 79.18 Yen.