Fraud & scam awareness

Helpful tips to help you avoid common scams and fraud when sending money overseas.

Common scams

Read about the following fraud types listed on the Western Union websiteOpens in a new window.

  • Advance fee/prepayment scam
  • Mystery shopping scam
  • Overpayment scam
  • Employment scam
  • Lottery/prize scam
  • Rental property scam
  • Emergency/grandparent scam
  • Internet purchase scam
  • Relationship scam
  • Fake cheque scam

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 0800 269 296
  • ASB 0800 803 804
  • BNZ 0800 275 269
  • Co-operative Bank 0800 554 554
  • TSB 0800 872 2265
  • Westpac 0800 400 600

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.orgOpens in a new window. .