Beware scams that target seniors

Be on guard against financial crime that targets seniors said the New Zealand Bankers’ Association today as Fraud Awareness Week 2013 was launched.

“Banks take all fraud very seriously, and fraudsters who prey on vulnerable people are particularly concerning,” said New Zealand Bankers’ Association chief executive Kirk Hope.

“Banks have systems to help detect and prevent fraud. We also have guidelines that encourage our members to develop internal procedures to deal with possible financial abuse of older and disabled customers.”

“Everyone has a role to play in fighting fraud by being vigilant and reporting incidences of fraud.

“Reporting fraud raises public awareness and helps stop fraudsters in their tracks. Contact your bank as soon as possible if you think you’ve been taken in by a scam,” Hope said.

Scams can also be reported to Scamwatch here.

Scams that target seniors are the focus of this year’s Fraud Awareness Week campaign, which is co-ordinated by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Consumer Affairs team.

Banking safety tips to help protect against financial crime include:

Card safety:

  • Guard your card. Treat it like cash. Don’t leave it lying around. Make sure you know
    where your card 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 EFTPOS terminals, shield the
    PIN pad with your other hand. Criminals may ‘skim’ your card details by attaching a
    device to the card reader, and then ‘shoulder surf’ or use hidden cameras to record your
  • Check your statements. Advise your bank immediately of any unauthorised transactions.

When shopping and banking online:

  • Logon to internet banking by typing in your bank’s full web address. Do not use links that
    appear to take you to your bank’s website.
  • Check you have a secure connection, which is shown by a padlock symbol somewhere
    on the page, and that the website address starts with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
  • Avoid public computers and public Wi-Fi for internet banking, e.g. internet cafes, libraries
    or hotels.
  • Protect your identity information and only provide it to trusted people and organisations.
    This includes your date of birth, address, driver’s licence number and passport details.
  • Shop with trusted retailers. Before you provide personal information make sure they will
    protect that information.
  • Keep your anti-virus and firewall software up to date.
  • If you suspect you’ve been taken in by a scam, contact your bank immediately.

If you use your mobile phone for banking:

  • Only download apps from trusted sources
  • Keep device operating systems up to date, and update apps when prompted
  • Use your phone’s password lock feature
  • Shield your passwords from people around you
  • Change your passwords periodically, and make sure they are not easily guessable
  • If available, use anti-virus software
  • Contact your bank immediately if you lose your phone.