Top Phishing Scams In NZ And How To Avoid Them

Date Aug 3, 2021
Blog category Broadband
By Tina M.
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Contents:

If you're the type who regularly checks your email for news messages and other updates, you may have already come across email phishing scams that instruct you on what to do. 

We've all fallen victim to scams, not only in real life but also, and maybe more frequently, on the internet. Since April of this year, a total of 23.7 million phishing attempts have been made around the world, according to the latest NortonLifeLock cybersecurity report.

In addition to this, phone and text scams are among the current scams in New Zealand that are being investigated by the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA NZ) due to the large number of people who have come forward to report their experiences.

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How do phone scams work?

As an illustration, consider a large SMS text campaign that offers discounted Lotto tickets or other low-cost products, such as the newest smartphone on the market. The target will be redirected to a seemingly legitimate website that advertises the discounted tickets when he clicks on the link. 

Now, the target is prompted to answer questions, which then leads to the request for credit card information, which is questionable given that this isn't the standard process for claiming prices.

A new report by Norton Labs has enumerated the top 3 phishing scams recorded in the first quarter of 2020 alone. Evidently, you can already spot whether a notification is legitimate or a complete scam.

1. Survey scams

At times, you’ll be asked to complete a survey following your transaction so that the brand or company can receive feedback on their service. In some cases, they may offer unrealistic rewards to persuade you to participate in a survey. 

Scammers may use this online data to obtain personal and financial information and use this to commit identity theft or sell it to a third party, making them a lot of money from this alone.

One example is the Amazon shopper survey, in which customers are occasionally offered online gift cards in exchange for completing the survey. This survey, on the other hand, is hosted on third-party websites and is much easier to hack for information.

Amazon.com has made it clear that they never ask customers for sensitive information such as bank account information, passwords, or social security numbers.

2. Technical support scams

Scammers are excellent manipulators. They use human emotions to induce panic, and then wait for people to take the bait.

Likewise, tech support scams trick you into thinking you have a serious problem with your device, such as a virus. This is frequently seen in online advertisements and pop-up windows that appear on your screen.

If you aren't tech-savvy, you're more likely to become a victim of this type of scam. You'll be persuaded to pay for tech support services that you don't need. They will ask you to pay via online transfer, gift or prepaid card, or cash reload money because they know that these payments are difficult to recover.

3. Weight-loss scams 

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is — especially dietary products that promise instant weight loss.

These scammers use email and websites that are often designed to appear legitimate to promote the validity of their products for losing weight, or fighting various illnesses.

They use optimistic reviews from "satisfied users," impressive clinical study results, and buzzing endorsements from online personalities or famous celebrity doctors, which are, in most cases, all made up.

If you happen to come across another one in the future, you should already be aware and avoid taking further action.

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How to avoid phishing scams 

Think twice before you click

This doesn't only pertain to online shopping, but it should also apply to falling prey to dubious offers online. If you haven't submitted an application or signed up for a mailing list and receive deals or promos with little to no information about the brand, it's most likely a scam.

Look for the source 

Today's phishers are far more sophisticated than in the past. As we have more access to information online, it's easier for anyone to make their content appear and sound legitimate.

They frequently use the names of banks, credit card companies, and other financial institutions to create the impression that such a message is indeed significant.

Things can become more complicated in instances where a seemingly legitimate-looking email address is "spoofing" or the messages originate from the entity claimed

It can also be possible that they obtained your contact information from COVID online forms, which is very common these days. 

To be safe, it’s best to ignore and ask around. You can also check the news or the official page of the company to be sure that what you’ve received is legitimate. 

Enable a two-factor authentication

Aside from creating a strong password, which some websites generate automatically, enabling two-factor authentication, or 2FA, is the most secure way to protect your accounts.

This is also known as multi-factor authentication, and it adds an extra layer of security to your online accounts, whether they are from Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, or another social media site.

To log in, you must enter your password (first step) and then enter a code sent through SMS (second step) or a prompt through an authentication app. This means that if a hacker tries to gain access to your account, he will need both your password and your phone to be successful.

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About the author
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Tina M.

Tina M. is a content writer and an aspiring law practitioner. She mainly writes about real estate, finance, and investing. Ever the creative, she loves painting, home renovating, and getting meme ideas from reality TV.

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