CertNZ urges Kiwis to 'act with caution' following text scams involving Government's cost of living payment

Cyber security service CertNZ is urging Kiwis to act with caution following reports of text message scams involving the Government's cost of living payment.

In a text message seen by Newshub, the text scam or phishing scam asked the person on the receiving end to click a link to verify and view the amount transferred from Inland Revenue.

The cost of living payment will begin next week with $116.67 expected to be paid to about 2.1 million Kiwis, with further payments being made in September and October.

Inland Revenue's (IRD) website outlines the payment will automatically be paid and there is no need to apply, IRD is asking Kiwis to ensure their bank details are up to date. 

CertNZ acting manager threat and incident Jordan Heersping said in a statement to Newshub that scammers time their phishing attacks with current events.

"Such as the living payment, in this case, to try and deceive people into being scammed."

Common themes identified by CertNZ:

  • A hook to try and convince you it is an authentic message. For example this could be a message that claims to be from a courier wanting to deliver a parcel or your bank asking you to authorise a payment.
  • An urgent call to action. This includes saying your account details or other sensitive information have been exposed.
  • A link for you to click. This will usually take you to a separate web page or portal where you will be asked to input personal or financial details, or downland/update software on your phon5e.

Heersping urged Kiwis to "act with caution" when receiving texts out of the ordinary or from an organisation that would not usually contact you.

"Do not click on any links in the message or download or install any attachments."

He encouraged people who have received a text scam to forward it free of charge to 7726, a service offered by the Department of Internal Affairs.