Kiwis are warned not to click on links sent by text message following an increase in scam messages about unpaid “customs charges” for a parcel delivery.
In the scam, people receive a text message claiming that a courier company has tried to deliver a package, but due to unpaid “customs charges” the package could not be delivered.
The recipient is then prompted to click on a link and asked to follow the instructions on the web page.
If the details are provided, the scammer can log in and steal money from the target’s bank account, or resell their credentials to others.
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Netsafe, the Interior Department and Customs have received thousands of reports about the texts this week.
Netsafe CEO Martin Cocker said parcel delivery scams are more common as people shop online in the run-up to Christmas.
The agency has seen a 65 percent increase in reports on the latest scam so far this quarter, he said.
Customs also reported dozens of phone calls about the scam in the past two days.
A spokesperson said customs will not contact any person or company regarding the arrival of goods as they are not physically received by the agency.
“All imported goods are delivered to warehouses managed by licensed forwarders known as Customs’ Controlled Areas. Freight companies will contact their customer (s) when import tax is due.”
Cocker said anyone who has received a text message asking for money or personal information should delete the message and not click on any links.
Scams can be reported online to Netsafe or by free text message to 7726.
The parcel delivery scam struck in the middle of Fraud Awareness Week, when the Department of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) warns Kiwis to be aware of new and sophisticated scams.
Mark Hollingsworth, MBIE’s consumer protection manager, said the volume and complexity of scams targeting people in New Zealand is increasing.
Covid-19-related scams are on the rise as scammers target vulnerable people with promises about investment, employment, and the sale of medical devices or treatments.
“We encourage people to make the right decision at those crucial early moments when they make unexpected contact. We want people to automatically poll unexpected phone calls and emails. “
Hollingsworth said it is important to double check whether an individual, offer or business is legitimate.
“It’s okay to hang up, and you can always search a business, bank, or government agency through Google or a printed phone book and contact customer service just to be sure.”