Small Business Minister Craig Foss and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Paul Goldsmith are urging consumers and small businesses to keep themselves safe online this Fraud Awareness Week.
Fraud Awareness Week 2015, which runs from 15 – 21 November, is part of an international initiative to raise awareness of scams and promote safe online practices.
“It’s imperative for small business owners to get up to speed — and stay up to speed — on the types of scams doing the rounds,” Mr Foss says.
“New scams appear almost constantly and they’re becoming increasingly sophisticated.
“Employing a few simple online safety tips could be the difference between a successful business and a struggling one. No one wants to see their hard work, and all the time and effort they put into it, stolen.”
Mr Goldsmith says the sentiments are the same for consumers.
“Simple tips to stay alert include not giving out personal information or sending money to anyone you’ve only met over the internet.
“If it doesn’t seem right, be cautious, double check the details first. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
“If someone you have never met asks you for money it’s a scam — especially if they ask you to send it via a money transfer system like Western Union. Be careful if a friend or family member asks for money over the internet, their Facebook site may have been cloned,” Mr Goldsmith says.
In 2014, there were 140 recorded reports of ‘digital challenges’ (predominantly cybercrime and cybersecurity) by small businesses. Thirty five victims lost $788,253 — an average loss of $22,521. This year, incident reports from small businesses have tripled, although losses are slightly down.
For more information or to report a scam, visit the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Consumer Protection page: http://www.scamwatch.govt.nz/faw