Cyber security experts CERT NZ has warning for Kiwis as new data shows cyber security incidents skyrocket

New data has revealed the number of cyber security incidents has increased by almost 450 percent since 2017.    

New Zealand's Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT NZ) has been monitoring the changing nature of scams and fraudulent behaviour online and has a warning for Kiwis this festive season. 

"The scammers took all the money from all the accounts, put it into one account and then sent that money to themselves. So they took every dime this person had," scam victim Cailyn Eccles said.   

Eccles has seen the pain of a scam - it happened to her close friend.   

"That was their money to pay University, to pay rent, to live off, pretty much," she told Newshub. 

It started with two fraudulent messages, one supposedly from a Telecom provider, the other apparently from the ANZ fraud department.  

They proceeded to scam her friend out of $10,000.  

"It was so put together and sophisticated because you never think as a 20-year-old you're going to fall for a scam," Eccles said.  

But recent data shows criminals are now targeting those between 25 and 44 years of age. 

"Probably more disposable income, probably confident around their use of digital technology but not that savvy when it comes to cyber security," CERT NZ director Rob Pope told Newshub.  

Comparative data from CERT NZ shows that since 2017, the number of incidents reported in the third quarter has jumped from 390 to 2136 costing Kiwis $4.7 million over three months, up from $1.1 million six years ago.  

The nature of the scams is changing too.  

In 2017, email phishing, fake invoicing and cold calling were among the most prevalent, but nowadays, buying, selling and donating goods and scam job offers are the most common with romance and investment scams also on the rise.  

"It reflects, first of all, the access these scammers and criminals have to very, very up-to-date technology and it does reflect the uncertain and testing economic conditions," Pope said.   

And as the festive season continues, Pope has a warning to shoppers. 

"Whether it's a text message, an offer out of the blue, something that seems too good to be true, just pause and think before you act," he said.  

Eccles's friend is still waiting to hear from ANZ whether the money can be retrieved.  The bank says it's aware of the case and is working to resolve it. 

"I guess it's just a lesson learnt, you just have to stay vigilant," Eccles said.