Cyber security specialist Jan Thornborough of Kāpiti based Intelligensia says the current natural disasters occuring in New Zealand also create fertile ground for scammers.
“When natural disasters occur, everyone wants to give a little to help. Sometimes the best thing we can do is donate money. It’s at times like these that scammers like to take advantage of well-meaning folk. Whenever a major event happens fake charity posts and emails start appearing. You can expect to see pleas for help with the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, and for folks suffering the consequences of the cyclone and recent flooding in the North Island.”
Ms Thornborough says cybercriminals even stoop so low as to creating fake Give-a-little pages.
“There was a case a while ago where a couple claimed to have lost their beloved 13-year-old dog. They set up a Give-a-little page to help fund a search for it and managed to raise thousands by tugging on people’s heart strings. All it took was a quick check of their profile on Facebook to see the couples’ extensive international travel over the years without any dog pictures to see that things didn’t really add up.
“As Kiwi’s we have a generous and trusting nature. So, if you want to support folks in need, go directly to a known charity site such as the Red Cross or one of the legitimate charities you’ve seen on the news helping with cyclone and flooding relief. That way your money is getting to the people that need it, and not into scammers pockets,” says Ms Thornborough.