Watch out for this 'track and trace parcel delivery' scam targeting Kiwis

Kiwis are being warned to be vigilant with a new scam posing as a courier package alert to unsuspecting "customers".

Many around the country say they have received text messages about paying for track and trace packages.

Several people on social media have posted about the text message, some addressed with their name, sent by a 4 digit number. It contains no information as to which courier company had sent the message.

In the text message, it tells the person that they have tried to deliver a parcel to their address and gives them a fake track and trace number.

The scammers direct them to a website, which asks for a tracking number.

This then directs them to another page that claims that the status for the package is pending in Auckland and that a delivery fee of $3.25 has not been paid.

Those who click on pay shipping are then re-directed to another website which asks for the user's details and to pick a payment method.

The scam has confused many who are or are not expecting packages.

Nelson, Marlborough and West Coast police received reports of a similar scam last month and warned others not to share their credit card details with the website.

"$3.25 may not seem like a lot, but when scammers target enough people it adds up quickly. Plus, you're handing over your credit card and personal details," they wrote in a Facebook post.

"These scams run constantly and our advice in instances like this is to not respond, ignore the message and let family and friends know - particular the elderly or more vulnerable."

New Zealand Post has had problems with scams in the past including a text with a request to "Confirm your delivery today" with what looks to be a NZ Post reference number prefixed with the letters "NZP" and has advised people to delete the message immediately.

On the New Zealand Post's website, it warns that scams come in many forms. Whether it is a text message, phone call, email or letter, the aim is to gain access to your personal or financial information, or exploit you for financial gain.

Many scams look genuine and sometimes it is hard to tell that they are fake. If you are not sure, do not respond or click on links in messages.

The mailing company said if you believe you are a target of a scam, it is best to report it to Netsafe's Orb immediately.

Also, if you believe a scam involves New Zealand Post in any way you should contact the company and let them know.

Data from Netsafe earlier this year showed that Kiwis lost $33 million to online scams and fraud last year - triple the amount stolen in 2017.

The average loss increased from $10,771 in 2017 to $21,140 in 2018. The smallest loss reported was $1 and the largest loss was $5m.

Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker has warned on numerous occasions that scams are becoming more sophisticated, often emulating legitimate promotions or emails from reputable organisations.

Netsafe's guide to scam spotting:

Netsafe's guide to scam spotting says to be wary of being contacted by phone or email out of the blue, being told there is a problem with your device or internet connections, and being asked for the passwords to your online accounts.

It also advises to be wary of unexpected communications asking you to "verify" your account or details, winning a competition that you don't remember entering, moving outside of an online trading or booking website or app, and friends or partners you've met online asking for money or talking about money problems.

Three other things to watch out for are unusual payment methods such as gift cards, being asked for remote access to your device, and pressure to make a decision or take action quickly.

  • Netsafe is New Zealand's independent, non-profit online safety organisation. Netsafe provides online safety education, advice and support for people in New Zealand.

This article was first published on the NZ Herald and is republished here with permission.