1. Investors
  2. Avoid scams
  3. Steps to protect yourself

Steps to protect yourself

Here are some steps we recommend you take before you invest:

Step 1: Find out the legal name of the business you’re dealing with

Search online to see if you can find the business’s trading and legal names. The legal name may be different to the trading name. If you’re unable to connect the two names easily, or it’s confusing, this could be a warning sign that the investment is a scam.

Step 2: Check the business/individual is regulated by us

Registration on the Financial Service Providers Register (FSPR) is not an official approval of an individual, business, or organisation. It also doesn’t necessarily indicate the provider is licensed or regulated in New Zealand or any other country.

We provide lists of individuals, markets and businesses licensed or authorised to operate in New Zealand. We monitor the conduct of these businesses. Learn more about who we regulate.

Step 3: If the business is not based in New Zealand, find out who regulates them

We only regulate financial services businesses operating in New Zealand. If you’re considering dealing with an international provider, make sure you find out who regulates them. Check that the regulator they name is legitimate – some scams name fake regulators to trick investors into trusting them. If in doubt, phone the overseas regulator to confirm the business is on their list.

If a business is not based in New Zealand it’s even more important you do your research before you invest. It’s often impossible for you to recover your money if an overseas investment turns out to be a scam.

We also publish warnings from overseas regulators.

Step 4: Check our warnings list

We publish an A-Z list of all the businesses and individuals we recommend you be wary of. If a business or individual is on this list, it means one or more of the following:
• they’re not registered as a financial service provider in New Zealand (and we’re aware of them)
• we’ve taken action against them for misconduct
• they’ve either not responded, or have not provided a satisfactory response to a request by us for information
• they’ve received a warning notice from us.

We recommend you check our warnings list before dealing with a financial services business. It’s also a good idea to check other consumer protection websites, such as Scamwatch and the New Zealand Police.
Please be aware that many scams go unreported and are not listed on warnings pages here or overseas. Businesses or individuals also change their name once on a list. Checking our warnings list should be just one of the steps you take before you invest.

Step 5: Learn the warning signs

Scams can be hard to tell apart from genuine investments, but there are some warning signs to look out for. These are listed on avoid scams.

Step 6: Watch out for further scams

If you’ve lost money through a scam, you’re highly likely to be targeted again. Be wary of follow-up calls from businesses offering to help you recover your money or threatening legal action if you stop payments. It’s likely to be part of the original scam or your details may have been sent to a different group of fraudsters. This is typical of boiler room or cold call scams.

If you think you've been scammed, you can report it to us.