24 June 2024

    Staying safe from scammers

    Jade Jordan

    Client Relationship Manager

    Jade Jordan

    Client Relationship Manager

    You’d never cross the road without looking in both directions – and you probably don’t leave the house without locking the door. These simple ways of staying safe are second nature to most of us. We do them without thinking to keep ourselves and our property from harm.

    Investing is no different. While there are many good investment opportunities out there, there are also some very sophisticated scammers looking to con people out of their money. So here are six things you can do to help stay safe from scammers.

    #1 – Always do your research

    If you hear about an investment opportunity online, it’s always a good idea to find out more about the people involved. While your first port of call might be the company’s website, it’s important to dig a little deeper.

    Here are some of the things you should check.

    • Does the website look professional and credible?

    • Do the website contact details match with the ones you have?

    • Is there a number you can use to call them (and when you do, does it connect (see #5)?

    • Is the company registered to provide financial services in New Zealand?

    #2 – Be wary of big opportunities

    If you’re looking at investment opportunities online, it’s good to be a bit cynical about companies offering exceptional returns – and best to avoid any offers that encourage you to act quickly. These types of scams are relatively common and can often pop up after you’ve been searching online.

    If something does catch your interest, it’s essential to do your research (see tip number one). And it’s always useful to remember the old saying, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    While most of us feel confident we can spot scams like these, they can be very sophisticated. So it’s important to ‘look both ways before crossing the road’.

    #3 – Be suspicious of emails

    Most emails are just fine. But there are some emails – known as phishing – designed to trick you into giving up your personal information or passwords. Often these will look like they’re from a company you know, even though they were sent by someone else. One thing to look out for is obvious spelling or grammar mistakes. If there are obvious mistakes it could be because the email has been translated from another language. Or sometimes scammers deliberately include spelling mistakes to try and get past anti-spam filters.

    It’s also good to be wary of any email (or social post) that encourages you to act quickly by clicking a link or opening an attachment. It’s a common trick used by scammers, putting you under pressure to make a decision. Stop and take the time to think, and if in doubt, get some advice from someone you trust.

    #4 – Limit what you share on social media

    Social Media sites are a great way to keep in touch with friends and family. But they can also be a hunting ground for scammers. A 2023 survey by the Global Anti-Scam Alliance and Netsafe New Zealand found that just over one in three New Zealanders have been contacted on Facebook by scammers.

    That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use them, but it’s good to limit the amount of personal information you share on your page. Some sophisticated scammers build relationships with people online to try and piece together information and guess things like passwords or security questions – like asking questions to get you to reveal your pet’s name.

    And it’s best to avoid sharing things like your address, phone number or date of birth. Just like in the real world, it’s important to be cautious about how much you share with people you don’t know.

    #5 – Ask to speak to a real person

    If you’re at all unsure about any investment, it’s always good to ask to speak to a real person who works for the company. Rather than ask them to call you, it’s best to call them using a number that’s clearly published. That way you can feel more confident that the person you’re talking to really is who they say they are.

    While technology helps us do more things in more ways, it’s always reassuring to talk things over in person, like we used to do before everything was online. That’s why our team are always available to chat.

    #6 – Be aware, be alert, be careful

    Remember, lots of genuine companies, like Fisher Funds, use the internet to help promote investment products and connect with their clients, but make sure to do your homework.

    It’s important to be aware of potential risks, be alert to things that don’t feel right and be careful when you’re sharing your personal information. And if you’re at all worried about any opportunity you’ve been offered, it’s a good idea to get a second opinion. Just ask a friend or family member what they think. Or call our team on 0508 347 437 – we’re always happy to help.

    Find out more

    If you’d like to read more about how to spot a scam, there are some great guides published online by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Or if you’re worried about something in particular, Netsafe is an organisation dedicated to keeping all New Zealanders safer online.