As a customer, you may be seen as a potential target for fraudulent activities. However, by arming yourself with information and tools you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud.

Do you know the four biggest fraud threats you face?

Email scams and fake websites

A number of customers of New Zealand financial institutions have been targeted with hoax emails. These emails appear to be genuine bank emails.

Some emails inform the customer that their security details and passwords need to be updated by logging into an authentic looking, but fake, website. The purpose of these websites is to obtain your logon details to access your bank accounts.

Others communicate security messages and advise you to install software from the email that checks and removes viruses. By downloading the software you are in fact tricked into downloading a virus.

Always ensure that you only log onto ANZ Internet Banking by typing www.anz.co.nz into the address bar.

Example hoax / phishing email*

Example of hoax / phishing email

If you receive a hoax / phishing email

If you have any concerns or think you may have received a hoax email contact the ANZ Internet Banking team on 0800 269 296 (international +64 4 470 3142) 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Job scams

ANZ warns our customers and members of the public to be wary of various job scams advertised via the Internet.

Bogus overseas companies have been targeting New Zealand consumers to act as "money transfer agents" in the sale of goods and services via methods such as fake job advertisements, unsolicited emails and online chat rooms.

"Employees" are asked to use their own bank accounts to transfer money overseas made from "sales" in New Zealand. In fact, they will be transferring stolen money. In most cases, employees are instructed to send these funds to Eastern European countries. Employees are promised a percentage of the transfer as their commission.

The fake job advertisement websites look very professional and convincing. Please note some job advertisements contain "trojan horses" that allow the job advertiser to access the person's computer and collect their personal details, including bank account details. Exercise extreme caution if you receive an email from any person or company asking for your personal and banking details.

Finally, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.

* This is an example only, the content and look of the emails change.

Identity theft is where a dishonest individual or syndicate will gather your personal details in order to gain some sort of financial or other benefit, leaving you, the owner of that identity, often in large debt, with a negative credit history and, in some cases, with legal implications.

Your information can be obtained in many ways:

  • theft, including theft of mail from your mailbox at home
  • by going through your garbage bins
  • telephone scams
  • the Internet.

The following can be used to assume your identity:

  • date of birth
  • utilities bills (phone, gas, water and rates notices)
  • address.

Protect your identity

You can help protect your identity in a number of ways:

  • Report any loss or theft of documents such as Driver Licence, credit card or Passport immediately.
  • Obtain a copy of your personal Credit File (available from Veda Advantage) at least every six months to check on the status of your file.
  • Keep tax records and other financial documents in a secure place.
  • Cancel all unused or dormant accounts that you may have.
  • Secure your mailbox with a padlock where possible.

Credit card and debit card fraud is a crime whereby your credit or debit card can be reproduced in order to use the credit balance to obtain a financial advantage. The creation and / or alteration of a credit or debit card occurs when the information contained on the magnetic strip is reproduced. This type of crime is known as "skimming".

Credit or debit card fraud can also occur when your card is lost or stolen and used by a third party to purchase goods with those cards or to remove cash from the cards.

Credit or debit cards can also be intercepted in transit while being sent to you. Your cards can also be compromised by a dishonest merchant who undertakes unauthorised duplicate transactions on your card.

Protect your credit / debit card

  • Memorise your personal identification number (PIN). Don't use the same PIN for all your cards and don't choose your birth date or other easily identifiable number that might be on something else in your wallet.
  • Check statements and call your credit card issuer immediately if you see anything suspicious on your bill. You could help the company uncover fraud – and save yourself from paying unauthorised charges.
  • Do not let your credit card out of your sight at any time – for example, at a restaurant – go with the card.
  • Card fraud is not only applicable in New Zealand – be just as vigilant when travelling overseas, credit card skimming is an international crime.
  • Always sign your card in ink as soon as you receive it.
  • Keep track of when new and reissued cards should arrive and call the credit card issuer if they don't come on time.
  • Make sure your mailbox is secure and that only you and the postal carrier have access to it.
  • Tear up all credit card receipts and pre-approved credit card offers into small pieces before you throw them away. Keep your billing statements in a safe place.
  • When you use your credit card online, make sure you are using a secure website. Look for a small key or lock symbol at the bottom right of your browser's window.
  • Never give your card number to strangers or telemarketers who call you on the phone. Don't give your card number unless you initiated the call.
  • Do not write down your PIN anywhere and do not disclose it to anyone (including the Police, your family or ANZ staff).
  • Take care to ensure that no-one can see you enter your PIN at ATMs or when using EFTPOS.

Cheque fraud is the use of a cheque to obtain financial advantage by:

  • altering the cheque (payee / amount) without appropriate authority or acknowledgement from the owner / drawer
  • depositing of a cheque for payment knowing that insufficient funds are in the account to cover the deposited cheque.

Cheque fraud can be conducted by internal and external parties to your accounts.

Protect yourself from cheque fraud

There are a number of ways to protect against cheque fraud.

Reconcile your account

  • Reconcile your cheque account promptly and regularly.
  • If you hold business accounts, consider opening a separate account specifically for higher value cheques, so they can be easily monitored.

Signing of cheques

  • Never sign blank cheques, only sign cheques after all details have been completed.

Preparation

  • Cheques must be completed in a way that deters fraudulent alteration. Ensure that a strong bold and consistent font is used and that no gaps are left in completion of the payee name, amount in words and in figures.
  • Use permanent ballpoint or ink (preferably black) when filling out a cheque.

Ordering and maintaining cheques

  • If cheques are lost or stolen, contact ANZ immediately and ask them to load a "Stop Payment".
  • Notify ANZ if you have not received an ordered cheque book.