Foil the fraudsters this festive season

As we head into the summer holidays, the New Zealand Bankers’ Association is reminding people to watch out for financial crime.

“Fraudsters love this time of year. They know we’re busy getting ready for the holidays and might let our guard down. This presents an opportunity for them to try to steal our money,” says New Zealand Bankers’ Association CEO Karen Scott-Howman.

“So whether you’re doing your Christmas shopping or catching up with friends and family, it pays to take care when transacting online and when you’re out and about using your card.”

There are all sorts of financial crime to watch out for. If you’re out using your card to pay for gifts, or out on the town, here are some tips to help keep your money safe:

  • Guard your card. Make sure you know where it is at all times.
  • Protect your PIN. Never tell anyone your PINs or passwords – not even the Police, bank staff, friends or family.
  • Cover up. When entering your PIN number at ATMs and payment terminals, shield the PIN pad with your other hand.
  • Advise your bank immediately if you lose your card or spot any unauthorised transactions.

When shopping and banking online:

  • Type in your bank’s website address to access internet banking. Don’t click on links in emails.
  • Only bank on secure websites with a padlock symbol in the address bar.
  • Don’t share your bank account login details, or password with anyone – not in person, online, over the phone, or in emails or texts.
  • Use two-factor authentication (2FA) where available. It provides an extra layer of protection on top of your password. With 2FA in place, if an attacker knows your password, they won’t necessarily be able to steal your money.
  • Shop with trusted retailers. Before you provide personal information make sure they will protect that information.
  • Avoid public computers and Wi-Fi, e.g. in cafés and libraries, etc. They may not be secure.

Scott-Howman also reminded people to beware of other online scams:

“Online scammers use a range of ways to trick people into handing over personal information, usually by phone or email. Once they have that information, such as your account number, log-in details, or password, they can access your identity and your money.”

  • Check that the person emailing you is legitimate. Fraudsters may disguise their identity.
  • Don’t click on links in any suspicious looking emails, or reply to them.
  • Only give your personal information to people and organisations you trust.
  • Beware of emails from people or companies you don’t know.
  • Don’t let anyone download any software to your personal computer. It may include spyware that can allow criminals to access your bank and other online accounts.
  • Keep your computer’s security software up to date.

If you think you’ve been the victim of fraud, contact your bank as soon as possible.

For more information on how to protect yourself from fraud, see http://www.nzba.org.nz/consumer-information/.

ENDS