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Let’s talk about Scams

Updated: Aug 28, 2022

I just thought of a couple of acronyms for scams: Super Cool Awesome Money Source; or more likely: Scary, Corrupt And Mighty Suspicious.

Those who fall for the first acronym will find themselves being told the familiar warning: “if it sounds too good to be true…it probably is”. Unfortunately, for some the warning comes far too late, resulting in a loss of precious savings, personal information or private details. With all the warnings and examples highlighted in the media, it baffles me that people still become a victim on a regular basis. Did they really not realise they were falling for a scam?

Common scams to look out for

  • Investment Scams

  • Identity Theft

  • Romance Scams

  • Business Email

  • Compromise Scams

  • Phishing and Smishing Scams

  • Tax Scams

  • Door-To-door scams

  • Emergency Scams

  • Subscription Scams

  • Health and Medical Scams

  • Purchase of Merchandise Scams

source - Little Black Book of Scams

Then last week I received a text. Congratulations, you are a winner in our raffle, click on this link to let us know where to send the prize. After the initial excitement, I then racked my brain trying to remember when I last entered a raffle. I hovered my finger over the link but something in the back of my brain said STOP. Actually, it was my daughter sitting in the back seat. “Don’t mum, it’ll be a scam.” Common sense then returned, the only raffles I enter are those at rural community events, via those fiddly numbered stubs. I doubt the organisers have the technology or time to set up an online link. I’d get a call: Oi, congrats, you won the book voucher, I’ll leave it at our front desk. So I deleted the text and forever wonder if I, in fact, won a car.

There’s a handy wee booklet circulating in the community, the Little Black Book of Scams, which outlines some of the most common scams this year. Here's a copy! Download it for your records

Download PDF • 1.46MB

Even if you think you’re clever, it pays to flick through it and be aware of the early warning signs. And please warn your parents and elderly friends, especially vulnerable ones.

We can all fall into the vulnerable category at some stage and let our guard down. Loneliness, cashflow anxiety, FOMO, or plain ol’ brain fog. We then grab hold of any glimmer of hope provided by the scammers. Remember, if it’s too good to be true….

As soon as you realise it’s a scam it is important to STOP BLOCK and TALK. Stop all conversations with the scammer and block them. Then inform Netsafe. Yeah, it might be embarrassing to admit you’ve been scammed but we need to ensure that others don’t fall for the same scam. They truly are to be admired, their story may have stopped $thousands more from being scammed by sharing their stories and warnings.

Do you feel confident you can spot all the different types of scams?

  • Yes

  • No

From a young person's perspective

  • Scams are not always easy to spot.

  • Some scams look like they are coming from friends. Do your research and trust your gut. Reach out to the friend on another channel to verify it is them.

  • Talk to someone about it and get a second opinion if you are unsure. always better to be safe than to be sorry

  • Always be cautious instead of doing something now and regretting it later.

​More Tips

DO NOT send money to anyone you have not met in person and trust unless you are absolutely certain you are able to verify they are a legitimate person or business.

  • Be suspicious if someone you do not know asks for personal or private information such as copies of your passport, driver’s licence or birth date.

  • Be suspicious of excess spelling mistakes.

  • Don’t accept checks from people or businesses you do not know.

  • Don’t use money transfer services such as MoneyGram, Western Union, Bitcoin etc., with people or companies you do not know or can not verify they are legitimate.

  • If you get an unsolicited call claiming you have a virus, won a prize, owe taxes, need to pay a debt or anything requiring personal information or payment information, tell them you will hang up and call back yourself.

  • Stay away from unsolicited friend requests on social media, especially if their profile looks new or they don’t have many friends. This is a red flag that they may not be truthful. You can always ask other trusted friends for advice on the requestor’s legitimacy. Ask friends, children and other whānau for help. It is better to be safe than sorry!

  • If it seems too good to be true probably is! Trust your gut. Have your friends and family help verify any outstanding claims, such as great discounts and any prizes requiring bank transfers first. You should not have to give out money to receive money.

  • If you won a prize, but do not remember entering a contest, ignore it!! Or try to verify another way before accepting.

  • Learn more at

Be empowered

  • STOP - All conversations with the scammer should stop once you realise you are being scammed or the moment you realise something isn’t right.

  • BLOCK - Take screenshots, then block them.

  • TALK - Even if you are embarrassed. Talk about it! It’s how the scammers continue doing what they do. Be the hero and report it. Help yourself and help others. Talk about it and see the details below on how to report it.

Need to talk about it or report it!

When you report a scam you are a hero because you reduce the chances of someone else falling for the same scam! It's very important to talk about it!!


  • Call toll-free on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723)

  • Email

  • Complete an online contact form

  • Text ‘Netsafe’ to 4282


They can help you identify the issue and let you know what you should do next


  • 0800 2378 69

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