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Phone call phishing scams

Phone call phishing scams – There are many different types of fraud and new scams are invented every day. Fraudsters often use scam phone calls pretending to be the government, IRD, your bank, your employer, or even a friend.

A scam phone call is a type of phishing and that usually means that:

  • the fraudster is trying to get something from you, like your personal information, or
  • they are trying to get you to do something for them like make a payment or install a virus on your device.

Why do they want your personal information?

Fraudsters can use your personal information to apply for credit cards, bank loans, and other services. They can also try to get access to your bank and investment accounts and shop online with your credit cards. This is called identity theft.

The FTC reports that the median loss from a successful phone scam in 2020 was $1,170, nearly four times higher than the average loss across all fraud types. 

They go on to explain that many phone phishing scams are TXT messages that relate to the pandemic. Scams lure people to click on links for stimulus relief, economic relief or loans for small businesses, or the common ‘package delivery’ scams.

How does a phone call scam play out?

Before the pandemic, NZ police warned kiwis of phone call phishing scams in which callers claim to be DHL with a package delivery and then ask for personal information.

Earlier this year, ANZ alerted customers of phone scammers posing as IRD and advising customers of a refund due. The fraudsters ask for personal information such as banking logins, passcodes, and driver licence details to claim the ‘refund’. They then use the information to impersonate the customer and log in to their online banking.

Other banking-type phone call scams relate to automated voice recordings saying that there is an unusual transaction on your account. You are asked to press 1 to be put through to the bank to discuss, at which point they request your personal and credit card details.

How do I recognise a phone call phishing scam?

Phone call scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated and it can be difficult to recognise a scam. Here are some things to look out for:

  • An unexpected call from someone claiming to be from a trusted organisation, such as a bank, utility provider, or even a charity.  
  • The call could come from a blocked or foreign number, but scammers can also disguise a number to look local.
  • The caller requests money or personal information such as credit card information and passwords.
  • They could pressure you into making a decision quickly or face undesirable consequences.
  • They could tell you that there is a problem with your computer and that they can help you fix it. 
  • They could tell you that you’ve won a prize for a competition that you don’t remember entering.

If you have received a scam phone call, the NZ police advise the following:

  • Hang up the call immediately.
  • Be cautious and double-check the details of the caller.
  • Look after your personal information in the same way you would your wallet and other possessions. Your personal information is very valuable to scammers.
  • Be aware of common scams. For example, banks, Immigration New Zealand or IRD never email, call or text customers to ask for money to be sent using money transfer services. 
  • Don’t trust a caller asking you for your financial-related information, such as your account details and password. 
  • Simply hang up, call them on their published contact 0800 number or arrange a meeting at the relevant agency branch.
  • If you have been targeted by a scam, report it immediately by visiting Consumer Protection’s Scamwatch website.
  • Anyone who believes they are a victim of any crime, in person or online, should report the matter to their local police.
  • Report the scam to Netsafe

What can I do to protect my business?

Businesses are targeted through people – using phishing, malware and online scams. We enable your business to become cyber smart and equip your employees with practical, ongoing and relevant knowledge, tools and ideas through a robust security awareness programme.

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