New Zealanders are being warned about a major new scam that has conned people searching for financial advice online out of millions of dollars in just a few weeks.
Cert NZ said scammers posing as New Zealand-based investment companies are targeting people who are searching for generic financial advice with Google ads.
The ads come from a malicious site and can be triggered by searches such as best term deposit comparison in NZ.
Jordan Heersping from Cert NZ said once the investor engages the site is then used to get details from them.
They are then called by someone claiming to be from the investment company and sent a false prospectus.
Follow-up phone calls, emails and requests for money are then made.
“Some individuals have also been given a fake investment portfolio website to check their investments,” said Heersping.
“These fake sites even require a login before showing a balance specific to the target, giving people a false sense of security and potentially sending more money to the scammers.”
Heersping said people who have been caught up in this scam should contact their banks, who are aware of it.
“Use their official phone number or website. The banks are aware of this scam and their fraud teams are on alert to help you, but the sooner you act the better,” he said.
He also recommended reporting it to Cert NZ so they can work on taking the malicious sites down.
Heersping said to check directly with your bank before investing and double-checking that offers are real.
He said doing due diligence on an investment site is important. Checking the Financial Markets Authority page on choosing an advisor is recommended.