Vodafone NZ guide to fraud and scams

Responding to fraud and scams

We take fraud seriously at Vodafone New Zealand and we're committed to protecting our customers from the risk of fraud wherever possible.

Most online fraud happens when someone gathers enough information to pretend they are you. They might steal your mobile device and get information off it. They could contact you with an offer that sounds too good to be true, or ask you to urgently provide details to avoid a major problem, such as your account being locked. Some other fraudsters may send you an email that includes a link to a website or login page that looks exactly like the real thing, but lets them collect the information you enter for criminal purposes.

If you believe you have been the victim of a scam or fraud which could compromise or give someone else unauthorised use of your personal information, we recommend you take the following immediate steps:

  1. Contact your bank and alert them that your credentials may have been compromised – they will likely suspend your credit card, disable internet banking for a period of time, add or change authentication protocols for access to your account
  2. Change the passwords and PIN numbers on key services you use that contain sensitive personal information – such as your email account, IRD account, superannuation fund
  3. Contact the police and make a formal complaint about the matter

Tips for keeping your identity safe

These tips will help you avoid being a target for fraudsters, if you have a mobile device where you use or store your credit card or personal details online:

DON’T ✘

DO ✔

Share passwords or PINsSet complex passwords that are hard to guess
Give anyone your personal details, unless you’re very sure you know who they are - just because someone says they’re from your bank doesn’t mean it’s trueChange passwords regularly
Publish your date of birth and address on your Facebook page or online directory, if you can do without itUse secure Wi-Fi connections
Click on links or unexpected attachments you don’t recogniseReport lost or stolen phones straight away
Set up a PIN for your voicemail
Be cautious with sharing personal information online and on social networking sites, like FaEnsure that you have adequate privacy settings for your Facebook profile.cebook or chat rooms

    Buying online? Make sure the site address starts with HTTPS. This means the website is secure and your personal details and credit card details will be kept secure.

    Lost or stolen device? Change all your passwords of the apps that have auto logins, for example Facebook, email, Twitter. This will prevent the person who picks up your device from accessing these apps and potentially hacking into your personal details

    Selling your phone? Do a factory reset to remove all your personal data first - find out how in our interactive user guides.

    Below are some common fraud scenarios with some further information to assist you:

    Avoiding scams and hoaxes:

    In recent years we have unfortunately seen an increase in fraudsters trying to defraud New Zealanders via scam calls and TXTs. Fraudsters can be very sophisticated, so if you think you have received a scam call (or email) you need to report it.

    Please remember to never give out personal information if you’re unsure who the caller is - this means do not share your bank account, credit card details, or passwords if you think you may have received a scam call.

    When you report a phone or email scam to Vodafone, we’ll investigate this and try to block the number or sender if possible.

    Phone scams are an industry-wide issue, which all Telcos are trying to combat with the help of our industry association, the Telecommunications Carriers Forum (TCF). For more information, they have a lot of useful information on their website.

    What to do if you think you’ve received a scam call

    If you get an unexpected phone call that seems strange or suspicious, the best action to take is to:

    1. Hang up. Put down the phone - and do not share any personal information with the caller.
    2. Call the company. If a caller tells you they are from a particular company, ring the company (find their number online, don’t call back the number they called you from) and alert that company to the call you have just received. They will let you know if it was a legitimate call.
    3. Report it to us. Please report any instances of suspected scam calls to Vodafone via this form (if we are your telecommunications provider) so we can investigate the matter and block the number if necessary. The more information you can provide the better, which ideally includes the time, date and phone number that called you
    4. Report it to Netsafe. All scams should also be reported to Netsafe, regardless if it was an internet, phone or other type of scam. Even if you were not tricked by the scam, reporting it can protect others. Please report a scam to Netsafe here.

    My number has been fraudulently transferred from Vodafone to another provider, or to another SIM:

    There are two key ways that fraudsters may attempt to get your phone number. If either happens, please report it to us as soon as possible.

    Unauthorised Porting - If your phone has unexpectedly stopped working and is showing “NO SERVICE”, it’s possible that your number has been fraudulently ported to another carrier without your authorisation.

    Unauthorised SIM Swap – SIM swapping occurs when a fraudster contacts your telco provider and is able to convince the employee that they are you, using your personal information. The fraudster is then able to port your number from your SIM card to their SIM card. They then receive all calls and TXT messages intended for you.

    When you think about all of the information we have linked to our phone numbers (like our bank accounts, email and social media accounts) you can see how easy it would be for a fraudster to take over your identity.

    Please immediately report either of these scenarios to:

    • Customer Care on 0800 800 021 from any phone or by using our online chat at Vodafone.co.nz/chat
    • Your Bank – to prevent unauthorised access to your accounts
    • New Zealand Police, once the fraud is confirmed

    I’ve received a bill for an account that I didn’t sign up for or I have default on my credit file for unpaid bills I know nothing about:

    If you suspect someone has stolen your identity and used it to create a service with us, you could be a victim of identity fraud.

    This kind of fraud happens when someone has used your ID or personal information without your permission to sign up a service with Vodafone.

    Some ways your identity can be stolen:

    • You lose your wallet or it is stolen
    • Your car or house gets broken into
    • Your mail is stolen and that mail contains personal information
    • Your computer has been compromised by malware or you have provided personal information to a website you’ve visited in a phishing attack
    • Someone you know and who has access to your ID has used it for fraudulent purposes

    If you suspect you’ve been a victim of a scam or fraud involving your Vodafone account, please complete an online report by following the below link.

    Identity Theft Report

    There are transactions from Vodafone on my bank/credit card statement that I don’t recognise


    If you see transactions from Vodafone appear on your bank or credit card statement and you don’t recognise these transactions, contact your bank immediately. Ask them to raise a dispute with Vodafone and refund the charges back to you. The bank will then contact Vodafone on your behalf.

    Current Scams and Frauds

    COVID-19 Scams

    There are three key Covid-19 related scams doing the rounds, but keep vigilant as new scams are likely to appear:

    Text message scams - There have been a number of reports of Covid-19 themed scam text messages that have a link claiming to provide information on testing facilities. The link contained in these messages is not legitimate and instead may install malware (malicious software) on your device that’s designed to steal your personal information, such as banking details.

    Phishing emails claiming to have updated Covid-19 information - Some individuals have been targeted by coronavirus-themed phishing emails, with infected attachments containing fictitious 'safety measures’. Instead of the attachments containing health information, it installs malicious software on your device that’s designed to steal personal information.

    We’ve also been made aware of similar emails being circulated internationally that encourage people to fill in their email and password before they can get information on Covid-19. These are not legitimate, and instead are again an attempt to steal personal information.

    Fake coronavirus maps - Security researchers have identified a number of campaigns where the attackers claim to have ‘coronavirus maps’ that people can download onto their devices. Instead, these maps contain malware, designed to steal sensitive information from the device it is downloaded onto, such as passwords.

    When something looks suspicious, please also keep the following in mind:

    • Legitimate organisations will never ask you for your passwords
    • Scammers often try to use payments that can’t be traced such as a pre-loaded debit card, gift cards or money transfers
    • Never provide remote access to your device unless you have actively sought out the service they are providing
    • Scammers also pressure victims to make a decision quickly. This could be to avoid doing something bad (e.g. account being closed) or to take advantage of something good (a deal or investment)
    • Be cautious if someone contacts you out of the blue – even if the person says they are from a legitimate organisation such as your internet provider or bank
    • Do not respond or click on communications asking you to verify your account details, especially for a service you have not actively sought.

    Text Scams (TXT or SMS)

    If you get a TXT about a fantastic deal that asks you to pass it on to others in order to qualify, chances are it's a hoax. And if a TXT message asks for your contact or bank details, it’s probably a criminal scam. Passing it on or replying means you’ll be part of the problem, so it’s best to hit ‘delete’.

    We’ll never do a ‘pass it on’ TXT campaign. If we want to let you know about a great offer, we’ll send you a TXT or PXT direct.

    How to spot a hoax TXT

    It's usually easy to spot a hoax as they fail the ‘Yeah, right’ test. They're usually about a deal that's too good to be true, or an early warning that every mobile in the world is about to blow up or be shut down by a virus, or that you've been randomly selected to win millions of dollars. Yeah, right.

    They often try to sound important by using impressive-looking statistics and technical terms, or claiming the story has appeared on a reputable website.

    Smishing

    Sometimes referred to as smishing (phishing via SMS or TXT), this is a hoax where the fraudster sends TXT messages pretending to be from reputable companies or Government agencies to get you to share personal information. The messages often contain a link to a website. Indicators of a smishing scam:

    • Usually begins with a TXT message that looks like it's from a genuine business - like a bank or phone company
    • Poor spelling and grammar
    • Usually an urgent call to action
    • A link to click on, which takes you to a fake website
    • Web address may not be in the proper format for the business website
    • You’ll be asked for personal details that no credible business or organisation would ever ask for (remember, the company already has your details, they don’t need to ask for it again)
    DON’T ✘DO ✔
    Phone that number - you could be charged a lot of moneyTake a screen shot
    Click on the web link – it could infect your device with a virusDelete the message
    Enter and submit your details into a webform from a link like this. It will lead to your identity being ‘stolen’, which could result in money being taken from your bank accountsReport this scam

    If you receive a phishing TXT, do not reply, do not click on the link and definitely do not provide any of your personal details. A reputable business will never ask you for your PIN or password by TXT.

    Where to find out more

    View some examples of hoax TXTs that other customers have seen.

    Report a Vodafone scam to us

    Please report any instances of suspected smishing TXTS, which claim to be from Vodafone, to us via the form below so we can investigate the matter and block the number if necessary. The more information you can provide the better, which ideally includes the time, date and phone number that contacted you.

    Report a suspected online scam

    Phone Scams

    We’ve listed below some of the common phone scams.

    Report a scam to us

    Please report any instances of suspected scam calls to Vodafone via the link below (if we are your telecommunications provider) so we can investigate the matter and block the number if necessary. The more information you can provide the better, which ideally includes the time, date and phone number that called you.

    Report a Scam Call



    • Wangiri (“one ring”) scam

    Wangiri calls are missed calls from international numbers you don’t recognise on either a mobile or a landline. Fraudsters making the calls hope you call back, ensuring the call is charged at premium rates, from which the fraudsters profit.

    You are not specifically targeted with these types of calls. Fraudsters generate numerous calls to a range of mobile numbers and yours will just happen to be included.
    DON’T ✘DO ✔
    Return calls to international numbers that you don’t recogniseReport it to us (if we are your telecommunications provider)
    • Telco provider scam: Vodafone calling

    If you have received a phone call from someone saying they work at Vodafone, and have some concerns about whether the call is genuine, do not disclose any personal information or account details, ask for the caller’s name and department and end the call. Call us on our published contact numbers to check on the status of your account and authenticity of the call.


    • Technical support scam

    These are typically made from a number made to resemble a New Zealand number, but are often generated from overseas. Tech support fraudsters might claim to be from a trusted provider (such as Microsoft) to sell support packages you don’t need and didn’t ask for or, more commonly, to gain access to your computer.

    Once you give the fraudster access to your computer, they can steal your personal information in order to commit identity fraud, or some other illegal activity.

    If you receive an unexpected phone call, be careful. Ask for their name, end the call and find a published number for the company and ring them back to check on the authenticity of the call.


    • Inland Revenue scam

    If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the Inland Revenue Department (IRD), and they’re trying to collect payment over the phone, this caller may be a fraudster. Typically they will demand money and create some urgency. If in doubt, ask for their name, hang up and contact the IRD directly to check on the authenticity of the call.

    Email Scams

    • Email phishing

    One of the most common scams you'll come across online or on your mobile is 'phishing', when a fraudster poses as a legitimate institution to lure you into providing sensitive data such as personally identifiable information.

    Indicators of a phishing scam:

    • A phishing scam usually begins with an email that looks like it's from a genuine business - like a bank or phone company
    • Email addresses are odd. For example, the email appears to be from Vodafone, but doesn’t end with @vodafone.com
    • Spelling is often poor and you may not be addressed personally (Dear Sir/Madam instead of your name)
    • It might ask for personal details - like usernames, passwords and PINs - and will often ask you to take urgent action
    • There's normally a link to click on, which takes you to a fake website. The web address may contain the name of the business but it will not be in the proper format for the business website
    • If you click on the link, you’ll then be asked for personal details that no credible business or organisation would ever ask for. Remember that the businesses you’ve signed up with already have your details, so they don’t need to ask for it again
    • Never enter and submit your details into a form like this. It will lead to your identity being ‘stolen’, which could result in money being taken from your bank accounts
    • Phishing is sometimes done via TXT message – you might be asked to click on a link or call a number. Delete the message, never phone that number (you could be charged a lot of money) and never click on the web link – it could infect your device with a virus
    • Some emails come with an attachment. Do not open the attachment as it could contain a virus that could damage your computer.

    What to do if you’re being phished

    If you receive a phishing email or a TXT, do not reply, do not click on the link and definitely do not provide any of your personal details. A reputable business will never ask you for your PIN or password by TXT or email.

    • Vodafone bill scam

    We’re aware of an email scam sent to unsuspecting New Zealanders, masquerading as a MyVodafone bill.

    We have blocked, and are continuing to block, URLs contained within this email but we urge customers as well as all online Kiwis to be vigilant and double check emails to ensure the sender is legitimate before clicking on the links.

    The scam emails look like a Vodafone Bill from the sender: donotreply@vodafone.nz - and takes people who click on the “Pay My Bill” link to a non-Vodafone website.

    If you receive an email that looks suspicious, please check the sender's address. If you are unsure, please login to your Vodafone account and check your account balance.

    Where to find out more

    View some examples of hoax emails that other customers have seen.

    Facebook and online scams

    Everyone with an online presence is at risk of being scammed so it is really important that we are all aware of the risks in order to protect ourselves and our families.

    Fraudsters reach out to prospective victims via various methods like email, social networking, text messages, phone call scams and instant messaging (e.g. Messenger services with Facebook, Windows Live and Yahoo, Skype, Google Talk, WhatsApp, WeChat).

    Report a Vodafone scam to us

    Please report any instances of suspected scams, which claim to be from or representing Vodafone, to us via the form below so we can investigate the matter and block the sender’s URL if necessary. The more information you can provide the better.

    Report a suspected online scam

    • Fake Facebook pages

    We are aware of a current scam where fraudsters impersonate genuine NZ companies by setting up a fake Facebook pages. These often relate to the sale of electronic goods but could be other popular items.

    These pages may be advertising goods at a lower than normal retail value, luring victims to pay for goods they will never receive.

    Remember, if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is. If in doubt, contact the main advertised number for the company to check on the promotion’s authenticity.

    • Romance scam

    Some fraudsters deceive people by pretending to have romantic intentions towards others in order to gain their affection and trust. Fraudsters target people on sites used for social introductions, like dating sites, social networking sites, classified sites, and dating apps. The fraudster typically expresses strong emotions in a short period of time. This lures the victim into the scam and creates an emotional attachment to the fraudster and the victim then feels guilty saying no to the fraudster (who is usually asking for help involving money).

    We are aware of fraudsters engaging unsuspecting victims to be “money mules” for them, providing assistance with money laundering and purchasing goods online (with stolen funds) and shipping those goods overseas.

    Remember, all scams should be reported to Netsafe regardless if it was an internet, phone or other type of scam. Even if you were not tricked by the scam, reporting it can protect others. Please report a scam to Netsafe here

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