Friday, June 14, 2024

Kiwis losing millions as term deposit scams rise

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Police are issuing a new public warning about term deposit investment scams. Times file photo

Kiwis lose millions of dollars to scammers every year and the criminals responsible are getting smarter and more sophisticated.

Detective Senior Sergeant Craig Bolton, of Auckland City Police’s criminal investigation branch, says scammers behind fake term deposit scams have upped their game so consumers need to be even more wary when making banking decisions.

He’s issuing a warning to Kiwis to be alert when making enquiries into term deposits and says this particular scam is remerging under the guise of yet another bank.

“This scam initially emerged in early 2023 and the modus operandi remains the same.

“Victims are entering their contact details online and talking to an ‘investment advisor’ on the phone, before completing online documents, which often look professional, before transferring their money into a New Zealand bank account.

“At this point the money is usually transferred off-shore by the holder of that bank account.”

Bolton says Kiwibank has told police it’s aware of the scam  which is appearing again under its name.

“It’s just one of many sophisticated ways scammers are attempting to deceive hardworking New Zealanders for their own financial gain.”

Earlier this month, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) also issued an alert to advise of the scam.

Bolton says police continue to make enquiries into other matters involving other renditions of this scam.

“It is truly devastating to be the victim of a scam like this.

“We have spoken to countless victims and made enquiries into numerous reports and we do not want to see more people falling victim to these types of scams.

“While police will investigate and make enquiries where possible when these matters are reported to us, we want to assist with preventing it before it can even happen.”

Police recommend these steps people can take to protect themselves from this scam:

  • Never enter contact details into any online website that offers ‘term deposit’ rates
  • If you think you may have entered your contact details on a website offering fake term deposits, do not engage in conversations over the phone with a person purporting to be from a bank – disconnect the call and phone back on a number displayed on the bank’s website
  • You can always call your bank to seek reassurance and confirmation you are talking to a trusted and legitimate employee
  • Seek advice from a trusted friend or family member, or someone who has knowledge of investments before sending any money anywhere
  • Check the URL of the website that you are directed to and confirm it is the valid website for the bank that you believe that you are dealing with
  • The FMA publishes the names of suspicious companies on its website

Bolton says unfortunately there’s never a shortage of scams the public should be wary of.

“Please be vigilant with your money.

“We urge anyone who sees something online they think might be attractive or a great deal to do their research, speak to friends and family, check with the FMA, and don’t be afraid to question anything that may be out of the ordinary.”

People who believe they’ve been the victim of fraud should contact police online at or phone 105.

Resources are also available to those who believe they may or could be the victim of this type of offending.

There are several Government websites that have information and advice to help avoid falling victim to common fraudulent activity and scams.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has more information on how you can prevent yourself, family and friends from being scammed.


The FMA provides helpful advice on its website to help avoid falling victim to online investments scams.


CERT NZ provides advice on how to respond to an avoid cyber security incidents.


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