Scam complaints rise sharply

The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) is warning New Zealanders to be on the lookout for three unique types of scams that have been on the rise since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thursday, September 16th 2021, 10:01AM

The warning comes as the FMA responds to a rise in complaints about investment scams and fraud lodged with the regulator in the first half of this year – up 79% on the same period in 2020.

From January to June 2021, the FMA received 158 complaints about investment scams and fraud – up from the 88 complaints received during the same period in 2020, when the pandemic began and up 49% on the 106 complaints in the first half of 2019.

From January to June 2021, the FMA issued 36 public warnings about suspected scams and other non-compliant entities – up 29% on the 28 warnings issued during the same period in 2020, and up 80% the 20 issued in the first half of 2019.

The FMA has noted a rise in three new types of scams:

1. Social media contact scams: scammers using social media platforms to identify and/or make contact with possible victims – friending and messaging them, asking questions or making suggestions in post comments, conducting fake surveys.
2. Romance-investment hybrid scams: targeting prospective victims on popular dating apps, winning people’s trust with sophisticated back-stories and accomplices, before convincing victims to transfer money overseas to buy supposed investments.
3. Impostor websites: using the names, logos, addresses, certifications and other details of legitimate NZ businesses, to fool investors that the website and/or its managers are part of, or associated with, the legitimate business.

More information about how to spot investment scams can be found on the FMA website.

Tags: FMA fraud scam

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