Record scam loss is a call for NZers to act on cyber security

A spate of scams between July and September has seen New Zealanders stung with direct financial losses totalling almost $9 million. The government’s cyber security agency CERT NZ is calling on everyone to use this as a warning and take steps to protect themselves online.

7 December 2022

CERT NZ’s latest quarterly Insights report has shown that while incidents are up 3% on the previous quarter, financial loss is up 128%, making it the highest loss in a quarter, since records started in 2017.

CERT NZ Director Rob Pope said that the spike in losses is concerning, but that hopefully it will inspire New Zealanders to be more secure online.

“While it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the large total loss figures, our data shows that most people are losing between $100 and $500, which is a real sting in the pocket for most of us. We want New Zealanders to take notice of these numbers and use that as motivation to do some quick, simple actions that will stop them, and their whānau, from being the next targets.”

According to CERT NZ’s reporting, one of the reasons behind the large losses is an increase in unauthorised money transfer, unauthorised access and scams involving buying, selling and donating goods. These types of incidents are ones traditionally associated with high levels of loss. Other types of incidents, such as phishing, had corresponding declines.

“As we come into the holiday season, New Zealanders will be looking online for bargains and scammers know it,” Pope said. “We’re asking everyone to be cautious when they’re shopping online or perusing online marketplaces and be suspicious of anything that seems too good to be true.”

“People should also turn on two-factor authentication, as this is still the best way to stop baddies accessing your accounts. This includes social media accounts as well as banks.”

The Cyber Security Insights report includes advice for New Zealanders to spot scams before they happen. CERT NZ hopes that people share these tips when they are visiting whānau and friends over summer so we can all avoid scams this Christmas.

The full Cyber Security Insights and Data Landscape reports are available on the CERT NZ reports page: 

Quater Three: Cyber Security Insights 2022