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Scam alerts

Below is a list of phone and email scams that impact Spark and/or our customers. This page is designed to help you identify scamming activity and is updated when a new scam is reported to and verified by our team. It’s important to remember that scammers are constantly changing their approach, both in terms of the stories they tell and the technology they use so while this list is designed to help you identify scam activity, there may be other scam tactics out there that aren’t listed below.

You should always take steps to protect yourself against known and unknown scams. The three 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 international numbers you don’t recognise and if you are unsure if the call is genuine, the best thing you can do is hang up.

Phone Scams

This scam involves customers receiving an inbound call where the caller will introduce themselves as being from Spark’s Technical Team, Spark’s Helpdesk or Microsoft.

The caller will generally advise that the call is in relation to a problem (e.g. a virus) with the customer’s fixed line, router, internet services, or computer. The caller might try gain the customer’s trust by saying things like “I’ve received a report that you’re experiencing slow internet” or “I understand you’ve just had Fibre installed so we need to run some tests.”

The caller hopes the customer has just had Fibre installed or has experienced slow internet so the call sounds legitimate. The caller can also use scaring tactics to create a sense of urgency, for example, “There is a virus impacting the Spark network and if we don’t fix it now you will be disconnected.”

Once the caller has gained the customer’s trust they will then ask the customer to log into their computer and download a remote assistance application. Team Viewer is the application that is most commonly used. Once the customer has given remote access, the caller will bring up a page on the customer’s computer screen that shows data or other ‘diagnostic’ information. The scammer will claim that they are showing the customer errors and will advise that they can resolve the errors for a fee.

In some instances, customers are encouraged to log into internet banking to transfer money to pay for these services or make a credit card payment. If neither option is available to the customer, then they are asked to go to Western Union to make a payment. There have also been instances where customers have been asked to pay in iTunes vouchers.

This scam involves customers receiving an inbound call where the caller will introduce themselves as being from the Government Grants Department. They advise that due to the customer being a good citizen they have been chosen to receive a sum of money. They advise that to receive the money the customer must pay a sum of money first. The customer is then asked to do a bank transfer/credit card payment. The customer then after transferring the money does not receive any payment that they were told they would receive from the Government.

This scam involves customers receiving an inbound call where the caller will introduce themselves as being from FedEX and advise that they have a parcel to be delivered to a named person. If the parcel is for another member of the household then the caller will ask for their mobile number so that they can arrange delivery and then ends the call once this information has been obtained.

A short while later, the person who answered the call about the parcel will receive a second call - this second call will have a falsified caller ID, which shows up as the number of the household member who’s number they’d provided in the first call. The scammer calling this second time will introduce themselves as the New Zealand police or the Federal Police and will advise that the household member has been detained due to them being an illegal immigrant.

The caller threatens legal action and demands money to release the household member. Forms of payment that have been requested by these scammers include Credit card/bank card information, bank transfers, Western Union transfers and payments made by iTunes vouchers.

This involves customers being contacted by international numbers generally on their mobile who advise that they have received an expression of interest regarding investment opportunities, or online trading as part of their business. This can also be result in receiving silent calls from +44 or other international country codes.

This is where a scammer bulk calls from overseas using a premium service and hangs up after a couple of rings. They call from a premium number, similar to an 0900 number. Because calls are typically billed from the time of answer, these attempts have no cost to the attacker.

They typically target mobile phones, as there is a likelihood that a mobile phone has caller ID display. The goal for the attacker is to entice victims to call back the number upon seeing a missed call. The perpetrators make money by collecting revenue on these calls via the premium rates issued.

An auto-dialler system enables the caller to systematically auto dial a list of numbers. It is a system many different scammers use. If it picks up human activity on the other end it can either connect you to a person, or if there isn’t someone available, it will be silent and then hang up. If you call back you will be charged standard international rates. This can sometimes be confused as the Wangiri scam.

If you notice a missed call from an international number there is no way of identifying if it is a Wangiri call, an auto dialler, or genuine communication. So we advise our customers to avoid returning calls from international numbers that you do not recognise – wait for them to leave a message on voicemail or contact you through another medium. If you have family, friends or colleagues residing overseas save their number.

This scam involves customers receiving an inbound call from what might look like a local number. When customers pick up the phone they hear a pre-recorded message in Cantonese or Mandarin. It says they are calling from the Chinese embassy and asks people to press 2 to hear a message from them.

This scam is targeted at the Chinese community where after contacting the “embassy” they are told the Chinese police are trying to contact them and are transferred to speak with a “Police Officer.” The goal of the caller is to obtain passport and bank account details.

Learn more about number spoofing

 

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 in the form of an email that looks like it is from Spark, telling people that they have been chosen to be a part of a yearly consumer draw and get a free prize as a 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 6 quick anonymous questions for the customer survey.

The aim of this scam is to obtain personal information about you, which may be used in a targeted scam call.

Fake Spark gift email

Xtra customers receive an email looking very similar to 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 URL.

Fake Spark invoice email

This scam appears it is coming from Spark’s support team. It says they have detected malicious activity on your account. They ask for 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

What now?

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