New scam targets Christchurch terror attack donations

Despicable scammers are targeting people wanting to make donations to the victims of the Christchurch terror attack.

Westpac has issued a public warning about an email scam seeking to profit off the public's grief.

"The scammers are sending out an email that carries Westpac branding," a bank spokesperson says.

"Customers can identify the scam by hovering over the link in the email - they will see the link will take them to a website called mothersawakening."

Anyone who receives this email is asked to forward it to

"Westpac continues to collect donations for the Christchurch Foundation - Our City, Our People Fund. The correct account for donations is 15-3976-0091104-080," Westpac says.

"If customers are in doubt, we ask them to check with us or come into a branch, where our staff can assist with donations."

And the national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT) warns it's not the only one.

"CERT NZ has received reports of different opportunistic online scams and attacks in the wake of the tragic events in Christchurch last week," it says on its website.

In the reports received, the scams and attacks follow these formats:

  • phishing emails containing links to fake online banking logins. These emails also contain fraudulent bank accounts where victims can make donations for the Christchurch tragedy
  • sharing malicious video files on compromised websites or on social media. A video file containing footage related to the attack had malware embedded in it and this malicious file is being shared online
  • attackers changing New Zealand websites to spread political messages about the Christchurch tragedy
  • New Zealand websites receiving threats of denial-of-service attacks, which would take them offline

News of the scammers has infuriated the public, who are lashing out at those responsible on social media.

"God there are some scum out there!!!" one person said.

"Disgusting these low lives are trying to scam money out of people when they're most vulnerable!" another said.

The attack has led to a flood of public support and donations for the victims and their families.

More than $5.3 million has been raised on Givealittle, and another $1.9 million on LaunchGood.