NZ tops list of most-scammed countries - study

Long Lunch 17/10/2018
Photo: iStock.

Kiwis are most likely to have experienced a tech support scam, a new study has found.

Among the 16 nationalities surveyed in a study commissioned by Microsoft, New Zealanders reported the highest levels of exposure to tech scams with more than three out of four experiencing at least one.

New Zealanders also topped the list when it comes to 'helpdesk' phone calls and fake pop-up ads that appear to be software notifications.

Martin Cocker, Netsafe chief executive, says the study found scammers have more access to Kiwis’ internet connections.

“That may just come down to the fact that we’re heavy users of technology in this country,” he told RadioLIVE.

Mr Cocker says New Zealanders may fall for scams as they can be very convincing.

“They often know quite a lot about you and your computer or, by chance, it’s just luck. Once you’re into a scam it becomes increasingly hard to realise you’re in one.”

Analysing the results of the study, he says six percent of those caught in a scam have lost money directly to scammers.

“It has quite a significant impact,” Mr Cocker said.

The research show New Zealand tops the list of most-scammed countries, followed by Mexico, South Africa, Australia and India, while Japan is the least exposed to online tech fraud.

Millennials are the most likely age group to lose money in a scam, the study found.

“Our core focus at Netsafe is educating New Zealanders on how to stay safe online, and that includes how to protect yourself against scams,” Mr Cocker said.

“We work closely with the Government and other agencies to help Kiwis avoid harm from unscrupulous activities and advise them of the latest scams, as we all have a role to play in keeping the web safe.”

Listen to the full interview with Martin Cocker above.

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.