Figures released by a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment-led consumer fraud working group [0n 22 February 2013] show Kiwis lost close to four million dollars to scams last year.
Out of the 4204 reports last year, 727 people lost money ? an average of $5,464.55 per person. Many people reported losing significantly more.
MBIE’s Scamwatch spokesperson Jarrod Rendle said losses reported by members of the public rose by more than $1.7 million between 2011 and 2012, despite 1309 fewer scams being reported.
This is in part due to a marked increase in losses to investment-related scams.
“Losses to investment-related scams such as boiler room fraud rose by 77 per cent last year. People that fall prey to investment scams can lose very large sums of money – with three people losing more than $150,000 each.”
The group also saw a large increase in the amount lost to dating scams – more than $2.2m in losses compared to $900,000 in 2011.
NetSafe’s Lee Chisholm says, “These scams can see the victims emotionally devastated and lose their life’s savings. Fraudsters usually befriend vulnerable people online and later claim to urgently need large sums of money for an overseas financial emergency. Three people lost over $100,000 each last year.”
The group’s report shows a 23 per cent drop in the amount lost to phishing. Losses to scams that trick people into thinking that they have a virus on their computer also dropped by 67 per cent.
Reported Scams [Nos] … 2,860 (2010); 5,514 (2011); 4,205 (2012)
Reported loss [$]
1,772,984,97 (2010); 2,271,677.05 (2011); 3,972,734.86 (2013)
Report released 22 February 2013