'New tactics' being used to lure Kiwis into scams, say cyber security experts CERT NZ

  • 07/12/2023

The number of crimes reported to the Government's cyber security agency picked up again in the third quarter of this year and financial losses are continuing to mount. 

CERT NZ's Cyber Security Insights for the three months to September showed there were 2136 reports over the quarter. That was 10 percent up on the previous three months. 

Direct financial losses from cyber scams were up to almost $5 million, with 11 of the reports costing victims more than $100,000. 

CERT NZ said scammers were using new and "evolving" tactics to target unwary Kiwis with investment scams. 

"We have seen fake investment websites that look legitimate, with physical addresses, business registration numbers and even messenger-app groups with 'peers', all created to build trust, keep their target invested and steal as much money as possible," the report said. 

"Once they've turned the discussion to investment, they present some kind of business to invest in, to lend it legitimacy. They may create entire websites or even investing apps. 

"Large investment scams work on a high-trust model. The scammer must appear knowledgeable, reliable and competent." 

CERT NZ director Rob Pope said scammers were using the current economic climate to their advantage. 

"We're asking that New Zealanders stop and pause before jumping into these offers and potentially opening themselves up to real loss. 

"As the holiday season ramps up, everyone at CERT NZ wants to make sure that it's a safe one online for everyone across the country, from businesses to individuals." 

Credit card.
Photo credit: Getty Images

Key data highlights from July 1 - September 30: 

  • 2136 incident reports were received in Q3, up 10 percent from Q2 2023 
  • $4.7m in direct financial loss has been reported, an 11 percent increase on Q2 - with 27 percent of all incidents reporting financial loss 
  • Reports of scams and fraud are up 32 percent from Q2. This category is correlated with higher values of financial loss, including 11 reports of losses of more than $100,000 this quarter.