Kiwis lost $33 million to scams in 2018

Kiwis lost at least $33 million dollars to scams in 2018, Netsafe has found.

The online safety organisation says 13,000 instances of frauds and online scams were reported, up from 8100 reports in 2017.

Kiwis lost $10 million to scams in 2017.

Netsafe CEO Martin Cocker said in a statement it's clear scams are a big problem for Kiwis and there needs to be a rethink in how resources are used to protect people.

"We know the lengths that scammers are taking to deceive New Zealanders and we know that existing interventions are having a limited effect.

"This is an issue that isn't going away. More needs to be done or we will continue to see large numbers of New Zealanders suffering financial and psychological harm."

New 'sextortion' scams are on the rise, where the scammer claims they have video of the victim watching pornography and will release it unless a ransom is paid.

Other common scams include fake tech support, invoice scams and investment fraud. Fake tech support, where scammers claim to have found a problem with the victim's computer, was the most common scam reported to Netsafe.

Reports to Netsafe represent only a fraction of the overall losses to scams, as many victims get lost in the support network or feel disillusioned about the point of reporting.

Cocker believes it should be easier to report scams.

"There is no official 'one-stop-shop' that the public can report scams to and rely on for the advice they need. There is no co-ordinated national effort to disrupt scams locally.

"New Zealand needs a national response centre to provide real-time scam trend analysis, information sharing, nationwide alert systems and dedicated support."