'Shocking' rise in identity fraud incidents - MBIE

Source: 1News

Identity fraud incidents have increased 86 per cent over the last financial year, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment says.

A person falling for an online scam (file picture).

It described the increase as "shocking" and said investment fraud incidents had also risen.

They had risen by 37 per cent over the same period.

Due to more and more New Zealanders' lives moving online, MBIE said scammers were increasingly using social engineering tactics, such as pretending to be other people or organisations.

This allowed them to trick people in to giving up personal information and getting them to perform certain actions which could harm their personal and financial reputations.

Given it is Fraud Awareness week, MBIE's Consumer Protection team is urging Kiwis to think about the personal information they share online and to speak up if they become a victim of identity theft.

This is "doubly important" with Christmas approaching and Covid-19 restrictions seeing more people at home and online.

Netsafe said red flags for a scam included people being contacted out of the blue to verify account details and about problems cropping up with phone and internet services.

"When in doubt about the identity of someone saying they are from a particular business and asking for your information, it’s a good idea to hang up and call the business back directly," Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker said.

If someone loses money in a scam, they should:

  • Stop all contact with the scammer
  • Don't make any more payments

  • Contact the bank/service money was sent through straight away

People are encouraged to visit the Fraud Awareness week webpage for more information.