Protecting yourself from fraud

Fraud happens when someone intentionally tricks and deceives another person by presenting false or misleading information, so that they can get money, goods, services, or sensitive information (eg. credit card numbers, passwords, or bank details).

Fraudsters can be very convincing and persuasive and often target people who do not have key protection steps in place.

Fraud can happen in all kinds of situations. When it’s online its known as cybercrime.

Steps you can take to prevent fraud

  1. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Ask yourself, is this for real? Listen to your instincts and be cautious.

  2. Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded sales pitch, hang up. Don’t press 1 to speak to a person or to be taken off the list. That could lead to more calls.

  3. Guard your personal information. Keep private and personal information safely stored. Never give anyone your bank or phone PIN. Shred or tear up any letters or documents that include your personal details when you’ve finished with them – don't just throw them away. Only give personal information to trusted people or organisations. Don’t send sensitive information such as credit card numbers by email. Check your online privacy options carefully, including for app updates. Set your profile to private, and only invite or accept friend requests from people you know. Never post your address, phone number, or other personal information online.

  4. Make keeping safe online a priority.  Change your passwords regularly. Make them as complex as you can remember. Install the latest anti-virus protection on all your devices. Never reply to a scam message. If you’re unsure about any requests for your personal details, do some simple checks first. Navigate directly to the company’s website instead of following an email link, call their office directly, or visit a local branch. See also Staying Safe Online

  5. If you use online banking, your bank can provide some safety tips and, if there is a scam happening, they may send you alerts to watch out for. Read what they send you about safety matters and take the steps they advise. Make sure you use trusted retail providers when you shop online. Check to make sure the company is legitimate.

  6. Pay in the safest way. Credit cards are the safest way to pay for online purchases because you can dispute the charges if you never get the items or if the offer was misrepresented. Contact your bank immediately if someone makes unauthorised charges to your account.

  7. Never send money or give out personal information in response to an unexpected request — whether it comes as a text, an automated phone call, or an email.  Scammers can pretend to be someone you trust, like a government agency, a charity, or a company you do business with, or even a friend or family member. Check directly with them first before doing anything

  8. Be suspicious of anyone trying to sell you things at your door, over the phone, or by email when you haven’t asked them to contact you. If you have any suspicions, firmly tell them you’re not interested. Close the door, hang up or – if it’s an email – never reply.  Do not let yourself get drawn into a long conversation. Fraudsters often do this to persuade you to buy what they’re offering.

  9. Stay safe online. Use the tips on the previous page Staying Safe Online. internal link to page 3   Always use a safe online search option. Consider resetting your computers to use Quad9 DNS to help prevent criminals getting your information. For more information, visit here.

  10. At least once a year check out Netsafe’s tips on How To Avoid Scams. This New Zealand service can keep you up to date with any new threats as technology changes.

If you become a victim to fraud, there are steps you can take.  See our Fraud or Cybercrime and Online Fraud support pages if you have been affected by this crime..

Other useful information and websites

Netsafe’s Tips for staying safe online

Be safe, feel safe - safety information from New Zealand Police


After a burglary, robbery, or theft