Waka Kotahi issues warning over car registration and refund scam emails

The emails are part of a 'sophisticated phishing' campaign designed to harvest customers’ credit card information.
The emails are part of a 'sophisticated phishing' campaign designed to harvest customers’ credit card information. Photo credit: File

Kiwis are being warned to watch out for two scam emails that are making the rounds claiming to be from Waka Kotahi / NZ Transport Agency.

The first scam email tells the receiver they are owed a refund and gives a link to click to claim it. NZTA says most people owed a refund will know about it but for anyone who is unsure, they provided some tips and tricks for spotting fake emails. 

In a post on its website, NZTA said genuine refund emails include an attachment. 

"The attachment includes specific details about your refund, like your vehicle plate, the refund reason, and the date you did a transaction with us. Scammers won't know your specific details, so they won't include them or they'll use fake, incorrect details," it reads. 

The second email tells Kiwis their license plate number is about to expire and gives an expiry date that is generally on the same day as the email is received. 

NZTA says the email is fake and contains links that direct people to an illegitimate website that looks identical to the real one. 

"This is part of a sophisticated phishing campaign designed to harvest customers' credit card and driver licence information.

"The email doesn't include specific vehicle details like the make or plate number, and the expiry date most likely won't match the one on the rego label on your vehicle.

"If you've recently received an email asking you to renew your rego, please check the email details carefully. If the email was genuinely sent from Waka Kotahi, it will include your specific vehicle details including your plate number, vehicle make and expiry date of your current vehicle licence."

Kiwis are urged to take care and if anything seems suspicious not to click on any links or provide personal details. 

NZTA says anyone who thinks they've received a scam email, or if they're unsure, should contact them on  0800 108 809. Phishing emails can also be reported online here

If you've unintentionally clicked on a suspicious link and entered your personal, driver licence, credit card or banking details, NZTA recommends: 

  • Contact your bank immediately and have them stop any payments that may have been made. You may also need to request a new credit/debit card.
  • Contact Waka Kotahi at info@nzta.govt.nz or on 0800 822 422 to cancel your current photo driver licence card and arrange for a replacement (it will cost $38.20). Please include the word 'scam' in your email subject line.
  • Report the email to your local Police cyber-crime division.
  • Report the scam to Waka Kotahi.
  • Don't delete the email. Instead, put it in your junk mail folder in case the police need it for further examination.
  • Go to the Netsafe website and read their advice. It's a very helpful resource for cyber safety.