Stay on the ball if you get an unexpected call

We’ve informed you previously about ‘Government’ scams, and you never know when they might pop up again soon. This is the scam whereby people are called out of the blue from someone claiming to be from the New Zealand Government and told that they are being awarded money for any number of fictitious reasons. They just need to pay a small ‘fee’ to receive it. Here are some examples, but remember, there will be variations of these scenarios, so trust your instincts:

  1. You receive a call, allegedly from a New Zealand Government agency, telling you that you’re entitled to a ‘grant’ for being a ‘good citizen’ (or something equally surprising). Then, all you need to do is:
    a. pay a ‘small fee’ to receive your payment. You’re then asked to transfer your ‘fee’ via Western Union before you can receive your grant; or,
    b. buy iTunes cards, provide the numbers on the cards to the alleged Government agency and your ‘grant’ will be deposited directly into your account.
  2. You receive an email from Inland Revenue advising that you’ve received a ‘tax refund’; you just need to click on the accompanying link, complete the tax return and send it back.

Remember, Government agencies, like Inland Revenue and the New Zealand Lotteries Commission, will never contact you, by any means, to ask you to send money or buy iTunes cards to receive a grant. They will also never ask you to click on a link to complete a tax return that includes a space to provide personal banking information.

Similarly, telecommunication companies, like Spark and Vodafone, will never ask you to log into your internet banking as a way to check your computer for viruses.
And finally, Banks, like us, will never ask you for any personal information, such as passwords or PINs, by telephone or email. If someone from BNZ calls you, and you’re not 100% certain it’s us, you can always call us back using the 0800 number on the back of any of your cards.

Some Tips & Tricks

  1. Stay on the ball… if you get an unexpected call from someone asking you for your personal information or banking details, it’s more than likely to be a scam.
  2. Hang up and verify who the caller is… ask the caller for their name, contact details and position within the organisation they’re allegedly calling from and tell them you will call them back. If the caller objects, it’s a dead giveaway that they’re not who they say they are. Call the company they claim to be working for, on a number you have sourced yourself, and check their details.
  3. Protect your personal information and financial details… don’t provide your details to anyone who has contacted you unexpectedly who you don’t know or trust. Even if they claim to be from a reputable company or Government agency, it may still be a scam.
  4. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  5. Keep your personal and banking details to yourself… never send money or give your bank account or Credit Card details, or any other personal information, to anyone you don’t know or trust; and never by email or over the telephone.
  6. Question strange payment methods… a Government agency or trusted business will never ask you to pay by unusual methods, such as with gift or store cards, iTunes cards, wire transfers or Bitcoin.
  7. Look out for strange links… don’t open suspicious texts, pop-up windows or emails and don’t click on links or open attachments; just delete them.
  8. Stay in control of access to your computer… never give anyone remote access to your computer if they’ve contacted you out of the blue; whether via telephone, a pop-up window or email, even if they claim to be from a well-known company.

If you’re suspicious of an email or call you’ve received, or you are concerned that you may have been taken in by a scam, please contact BNZ immediately on 0800 ASK BNZ (275 269) or + 64 4 924 0499.