Press Release

For immediate release

‘Tis the season for scammers

          • More than a quarter (28%) of Kiwi credit cardholders check their card activity every day.
          • Cyber scams increased by 229% in 2020 compared to the same period last year.
          • Have a look at our scam safety tips for this silly season.

29 October 2020, New Zealand As Kiwis gear up for pre-Christmas sale events such as Black Friday, credit card holders are keeping a close eye on their statements. This is according to new research from Finder, a financial research and comparison site in New Zealand.

The Finder survey of 1,537 credit card holders has revealed that one in four New Zealanders (28%) are checking their credit card activity every day.

On the other hand, nearly one in five credit card holders (18%) admitted to only checking their statement monthly when it comes in the mail.

This research comes as CERT NZ’s Quarter One (Q1) and Quarter Two (Q2) Report saw a 25% increase in phishing and credential harvesting, and a 229% increase in scams and fraud in Q2 of 2020 compared to the same period last year.

It’s estimated that cyber security incidents like those mentioned above cost Kiwis $7.8 million in the first six months of 2020.

This period coincided with the COVID-19 lockdown which saw an increase in economic activity online. However, CERT NZ reported that only 3% of reported scams during this time were COVID-19 themed.

Kevin McHugh, Finder’s publisher in New Zealand, has urged Kiwis to be vigilant with their finances in the lead up to the festive season.

“It’s encouraging to see so many New Zealanders proactively monitoring their credit card activity as we approach one of the busiest periods for online shopping, with Black Friday and Christmas not too far off.

“As Christmas preparation sets in, many of us will be making more online payments, which leaves the potential for more online scams.

“Scammers are getting more sophisticated in their approach, so it might take a suspicious credit card transaction for you to realise that your information has been compromised.”

Millennials are the most vigilant when it comes to checking their statement, with more than a third (35%) examining their charges every day, compared to only 19% of boomers logging on daily.

It’s concerning to see that a small number of respondents (3%) confessed to never checking their statement.

A further 39% are looking at their statements once a week, while 10% review it fortnightly.

McHugh encouraged Kiwis to take advantage of all digital services offered by their bank to make it easier to stay on top of their finances.

“Once a scammer has access to your information, it doesn’t take long to start racking up charges.

“Waiting a month between activity checks could be detrimental to your finances as there might be a few nasty surprises when that monthly statement rolls around.

“Online banking means you can access your statements virtually anywhere at any time, and staying on top of your transactions is a great first step to protecting your money.”

If you’re concerned about falling victim to an online scam, take a look at Finder’s COVID-19 scams guide to help minimise your risk: https://www.finder.com/nz/coronavirus-common-scams-to-watch-out-for

Methodology:

  • This study was designed by Finder and conducted by Qualtrics, a SAP company.
  • The online survey was conducted using a nationally representative survey sample of 2,001 New Zealand residents – 1,537 of which were credit card holders.
How often do you check your credit card activity?
Everyday28%
Weekly39%
Fortnightly10%
Monthly, when I get my statement18%
Every few months2%
I never check the activity, I just pay the balance2%
I never check, my account is set to autopay1%

Source: Finder NZ survey of 1,537 respondents

Scam safety tips for the silly season

  • Look for the padlock online. Before entering your payment details online, check the URL bar for the padlock symbol, which indicates that the site is secure. This will help protect your payment details from falling into the wrong hands when shopping online.
  • Check your activity regularly. Scammers rely on complacency to avoid detection, so actively monitoring your transactions will keep you on the front foot should your information be stolen.
  • Be critical of requests for personal information. If you receive a phone call asking for your personal information and it seems suspicious, make your own call to the organisation to confirm or report the request.

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For further information

Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com's review pages for the current correct values.

About finder.com:

finder.com is a personal finance website, which helps consumers compare financial products online so they can make better informed decisions. Consumers can visit finder.com to compare credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, life and travel insurance, shopping coupon codes, and so much more before choosing the option that best suits their needs.

Best of all, finder.com is completely free to use. We’re not a bank or insurer, nor are we owned by one, and we are not a product issuer or a credit provider. We’re not affiliated with any one institution or outlet, so it’s genuine advice from a team of experts who care about helping you find better.

finder.com launched in the U.S. in September 2015 and is privately owned and self-funded by two Australian entrepreneurs – Fred Schebesta and Frank Restuccia – who successfully grew finder.com.au to be Australia's most visited personal finance website (Source: Experian Hitwise).

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