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Scam alerts

Below is a list of phone and email scams that can impact Spark and our customers. This page can help you identify scamming activity. When there's a report of a new scam and our team can verify this we'll add details to this page. Report a scam

It’s important to remember that scammers are always changing their approach. Both the stories they tell and the technology they use change often. While this list can help you identify scam activity there may be other scams that aren’t listed here.  

You should always try to protect yourself against known and unknown scams. The key things to remember are:  

  • Spark will never contact you out of the blue and ask for your password or credit card details
  • Avoid calling back numbers you don’t recognise
  • If you're unsure if the call is genuine, the best thing to do is hang up

Phone scams

This scam is when someone receives a call and the caller says they're from Spark's help desk or Microsoft. The caller will usually say there's a problem with the person’s phone, internet or computer.  

Common things the caller will say to try gain the person's trust include:

  • “I’ve received a report that you’re experiencing slow internet”
  • “I understand you’ve had Fibre installed so we need to run some tests”

The caller hopes one of the situations apply so the call sounds legitimate. The caller can also use scare tactics to create a sense of urgency. For example, "you must pay your account now or you'll lose connection immediately".  

The caller will then ask the person to log onto their computer and download an application. This application enables the caller to access the person's computer. Team Viewer is the application that's often used. The scammer will show the customer what they claim are problems. They'll say they can resolve the problems for a fee.  

Sometimes the person is then asked to do a bank transfer or credit card payment to pay for these services. If neither option is available to the person, they're asked to go to Western Union to make a payment. There have also been instances where the caller asks the customer to pay in iTunes vouchers.  

A variation of the Spark technician scam is rather than having a real person on the other line, the scammer pre-records an automated message. The caller uses scaring tactics like “your internet services will be disconnected” and tells people to press 1 to speak to an operator. This then redirects them to a scammer. This is not a legitimate call from Spark. Anyone who receives these calls should hang up immediately.​

This scam is when someone receives a call where the caller says they're from the government grants department.

They say that due to the person being a good citizen they're going to receive a sum of money. They say that to receive the money the person must pay a sum of money first. They're then asked to do a bank transfer or credit card payment. After transferring the money the person doesn't receive any payment.  

This involves someone receiving a call where the caller says they're from FedEX. The caller says they have a parcel to deliver to a named person. If the parcel's for another member of the household the caller will ask for their mobile number.  

Shortly after, the person who answered the call about the parcel will receive a second call. This second call will have a falsified caller ID. This means it shows up as the number of the household member whose number they’d provided in the first call. The scammer will this time say they're from the New Zealand Police or the Federal Police. They'll say that the household member is in police custody due to them being an illegal immigrant.

The caller threatens legal action and demands money to release the household member. Forms of payment that the scammer may request include:

  • Credit card/bank card information
  • Bank transfers
  • Western Union transfers
  • Payments made by iTunes vouchers

This is when someone receives a call from an international number. The call is usually to the customer's mobile phone. The caller will say the person has expressed their interest in hearing about investment opportunities or online trading. This scam can include silent calls from +44 and other international country codes. Silent calls are when there's no response after answering the call. 

This is when a scammer bulk calls from overseas using a premium service and hangs up after a couple of rings. They call from a premium number, like an 0900 number. Calls are usually billed from the time they're answered so these calls have no cost to the scammer.  

They usually target mobile phones as it is likely that a mobile phone has caller ID. The goal for the scammer is to entice people to call back the number upon seeing a missed call. When someone calls back the number they're charged the premium rates. The scammers make money by collecting on these calls via the premium rates charged.  

An auto dialler system enables the caller to dial a list of numbers. It's a system many different scammers use. If it picks up human activity on the other end it can connect you to a person. Or if there isn’t someone available it will be silent and then hang up. You're charged international rates if you call back the number.  

It's best to avoid returning calls from international numbers you don't recognise. Wait for them to leave a voicemail message or contact you another way. If you have family, friends or colleagues who are overseas, save their number.  

This scam is when someone receives an call from what looks like a local number. When the person picks up the phone they hear a pre-recorded message in Chinese. It says they're calling from the Chinese embassy and asks people to press two to hear a message from them.  

This scam targets the Chinese community. The call connects to the fake embassy and is then transferred to someone pretending to be from the Chinese police. The goal of the caller is to get passport and bank account details.

 

请广大客户小心提防最近的一些中文诈骗电话. 此类电话经常伪装成新西兰本地座机号码. 当接听时会有一段提前录制的中文语音留言并自称是“中国大使馆”或“领事馆”等官方机构打来. 留言会让接听者按“2”听余下留言.

此类诈骗电话专门针对新西兰本地华人社团, 并欺骗或有时威胁接听者“中国警方”会和他们联系. 诈骗者会借次机会骗取接听者的护照或银行账号和密码信息.

如果你接到此类诈骗电话, 可以选择立即挂断或者把号码加入黑名单. 如果你是客户请给我们发邮件(scamhelp@spark.co.nz)或向政府网络安全部门Netsafe报告此类诈骗电话

如果你不慎向诈骗者透漏你的个人信息或密码, 请马上重置你的密码.

如果你不慎向诈骗者透漏你的银行信息, 请立即通知你的银行.

Email scams

This scam is an email that looks like it's from Spark. It tells people they've been chosen to be a part of a yearly draw and get a free prize as thanks for being a loyal Spark customer. It claims to have smartphones, Countdown gift cards and iPhones up for grabs. All you have to do is answer six quick anonymous questions for the customer survey.

The aim of this scam is to get personal information about you. Scammers then use this information to make targeted scam calls.

Fake Spark gift email

Xtra Mail customers receive an email that looks like a Spark NZ bill. It prompts you to view your bill and pay through a link. The link is fake and will direct you to a website that asks you to enter your personal information. Before clicking on a link, hover your mouse over it to see the full web address (URL). 

Fake Spark invoice email

This scam can occur on any email platform, not only Xtra Mail. It usually only occurs if a scammer has gained access to your email because they have your login details.

Once the scammer has gained access to your email they set up an auto-forwarding rule. This rule sends a copy of all the emails you receive to a different email account.

The scammer monitors your emails to understand more about you and what you're up to. They use this information to send you fraudulent emails and requests for money. For example, they might send a fake invoice that looks like a bill you're expecting but it will have different bank payment details. If you pay this invoice the scammers will move your money offshore very fast. When this happens the Police and your bank may find it difficult to reclaim that money.

If Spark becomes aware your Xtra Mail account has had unauthorised access we'll:

  • Reset your Xtra Mail password
  • Remove any auto-forwarding rules and notify you

It’s often hard to track this kind of activity, so it’s important to be very wary of any previous or future requests for large sums of money.

  • If you receive any large invoices it's a good idea to call the business to double check it's genuine and the account details are correct before you pay
  • Call the business on the phone number you have recorded for them or look it up on their website or in the phone book. Don't call the phone number on the email as it likely belongs to the scammer.

If you think someone has accessed your email account:

 

This scam appears to come from Spark’s support team. It says they have detected malicious activity on your account. They ask you to click on a link that confirms your identity. This link will prompt you to enter personal information on a webpage. This information will be sent to the scammer, and is not Spark asking to confirm your identity. 

Fake Spark identity confirmation email

This scam appears to come from Spark’s support team. It claims you’ve requested a password reset and asks you to sign in to confirm. The link included in the message appears to be genuine, but instead directs you to a fake page.

To safely reset your Xtra email password, type spark.co.nz/xtramail into your web browser and click Can’t sign in.

Fake Spark password reset email

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