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Banking customers urged to stay vigilant as BNZ sees scams skyrocket by over 50%

New Zealanders are falling prey to more and more scams, with BNZ seeing a 54 per cent increase in the number of victims in the last year.

New Zealand money. Source: istock.com

Ashley Kai Fong, BNZ's head of financial crime, said he has "never seen this level of scam activity before" during his 10 years in the industry.

"It is getting worse each year," he said. 

“Scammers are working every possible angle to steal your money. We catch a lot of it, but some is going unreported which means we are unable to help."

The bank has also seen gross fraud, net loss and customer loss all rise.

The number one scam the bank has identified is 'The Spark Scam' which accounted for the majority of funds customers lost to scams.

It sees scammers calling people pretending to be tech support and convincing them they need access to their computers to fix issues such as viruses.

“These guys are relentless. They are calling people several times a day and sometimes, simply by wearing their victims down, are managing to get access to people’s computers or passwords and stealing money," said Mr Kai Fong.

Scam callers claiming to be from Spark clean out elderly Auckland man's bank account

He said reporting fraud and scams to banks or the police as soon as people are aware of criminal activity is vital.

“We need the public to be vigilant and report scams to us as soon as possible so we can act quickly and recover lost money.

“Speed is of the essence. If someone reports a scam to us within 24 hours we can typically recover their funds, but any longer and the process becomes difficult and we cannot always get everything back.”