Fraud & scam awareness
Helpful tips to help you avoid common scams and fraud when sending money overseas.
Online job or home advertisements
When a ‘job’ is listed on an employment website or emailed to you, saying all you need to do is have a bank account to accept money transfers, then forward the money to a company based overseas.
You’re told you've won a large sum of money in a lottery you probably did not enter and in order to get your winnings, you're required to pay taxes or other ‘costs’.
Dating or love scams
A fraudster will build up a relationship of trust with you, and then eventually ask for some type of financial help.
Fake cheque or travellers cheque
A fraudster will send you fake travellers cheques, bank drafts or foreign cheques to pay for an item, service or in some cases employment. The cheque or draft may be made out for much more than the agreed price and you'll then be asked to send the excess amount back to them.
How to avoid becoming a victim of fraud
Western Union is a quick, convenient and reliable way to send money to people you know and trust. If you need to send money to someone you don't know well, you may be putting yourself at risk of fraud.
Helpful hints before you send money:
- Always know the person you are sending money to.
- Always contact your local Police or bank if you are uncertain or suspicious of a telephone, mail or email solicitation.
- Always look up phone numbers in an independent directory when you wish to check if a request or an offer is genuine.
- Don't disclose the Western Union money transfer control number (MTCN) to anyone other than your intended receiver.
- Don’t respond to offers, deals or requests for your details. Stop. Take time to independently check the offer.
- Don't send money or give credit card, bank account or other personal details to anyone who makes spontaneous offers or requests for information.
- Don't rely on glowing testimonials - find solid evidence from independent sources (not provided with the offer).
- Don't click on a link provided in an unsolicited email as it will probably lead to a fake website designed to trap you.
- Don't use phone numbers provided with unsolicited requests - there may well be a scammer at the end of the line.
Remember - if an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
Who can help?
For Western Union transfers
Western Union and Crimestoppers have joined forces to launch the Security Awareness and Fraud Education (SAFE) programme. It aims to educate consumers on the different types of fraud and urge New Zealanders to take precautions when doing business with someone they don’t know.
If you have just sent a Western Union Money Transfer transaction and suspect you may be a victim of fraud, ask the sales clerk to stop your transaction immediately, or call Western Union on 0800 005 253. If the transfer has not been completed, your principal will be refunded.
For other transfers
If you've received money into your bank account and have been instructed to send it overseas, we strongly recommend you call your bank immediately. It's likely this money has been stolen from another bank account and will be dishonoured.
Contact details for major banks in New Zealand are:
- Kiwibank 0800 11 33 55
- ANZ National Bank (04) 496 7038
- BNZ 0800 275 269
- Westpac Bank (04) 498 1400 option 3
- ASB Bank 0800 803 804
- TSB Bank (06) 968 3700
If you have been a victim of fraud, report it to local police. If you wish to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 to report information on crime, or to use their online message form, visit www.crimestoppers-nz.org.