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Scam alerts

Scammers are always changing their approach, so when we become aware of a new and reoccurring type of scam or a new tactic scammers are using, we'll add info about it below. 

While this list can help you identify scam activity, there may be other scams that aren’t listed here. Always try to protect yourself from scams by remembering these key things:  

  • Spark will never contact you out of the blue and do the following: 
    • Request your password 
    • Request your credit details
    • Threaten to disconnect your broadband
    • Tell you that you've been hacked 
    • Request access to your personal computer or laptop
  • Avoid calling back numbers you don’t recognise
  • If you're unsure whether the call is genuine, the best thing to do is hang up

Select Report a scam to notify us of scams. Report a scam


Tired of scam calls?

Spark's Call Screen home phone can help block scammers from getting through to you. Select Call Screen to learn more. Call Screen

Phone scams

This scam is when you get a call and the caller says they're from a trusted organisation like Spark. Or, another telco or Microsoft. The caller will usually say something like one or more of the following:

  • There's a problem with your phone, internet or computer
  • They’ve received a report that you’re experiencing slow internet
  • They understand you’ve had Fibre installed and they’d like to run some tests
  • That they need you to update your information with them
  • That Spark has had an internal breach which means your modem, email or device has been hacked

The caller may also use scare tactics to create a sense of urgency. For example, "you must pay your account now or you'll lose connection immediately".  

Once the scammer has your attention, they'll often ask you to log on to your computer and download an application. For example, ‘TeamViewer.’ This app lets them access your computer. The scammer will then show you what they claim are problems and they'll say they can resolve the problems for a fee.  

Sometimes they might ask you to do a bank transfer or credit card payment to pay for these services. If neither option is available, they'll ask you to go to Western Union to make a payment. Or, they might ask you to pay in iTunes vouchers.  

There's been instances of scammers transferring victims to the ‘Police Cyber Crime Unit’ after saying they're the subject of identity theft through their emails.  Victims are then told that the police need their help to set up a ‘trap to catch the criminals.’ They're convinced to withdraw large sums of money to post to an address, or to deposit it to an account. 

Sometimes, instead of a real person on the line, scammers will use a pre-recorded message pretending to be from Spark.


The message will often threaten to disconnect your broadband. It may also tell you to press a number on your keypad to speak to an operator, or for more options.


This would then redirect you to a scammer. This is not a legitimate call from Spark. Anyone who receives these calls should hang up immediately.​

This scam is when you receive a call and the caller says they're from the government grants department.

They say that because you're such a good citizen, you're going to receive a sum of money. They say that to receive the money, you must pay a sum of money first. Then, you're asked to do a bank transfer or credit card payment. After transferring the money, you don't receive any payment.  

This scam is when you receive 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 was provided in the first call. The scammer will this time say they're from the New Zealand Police or the Federal Police and 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, requesting payment by one of the following methods: 

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

This scam is when you receive a call from an international number, usually to your mobile phone. They will say they know you've expressed interest in 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. Don't try to call the number back as you may be charged.

Sometimes scammers will make bulk calls from overseas using a premium service and hang up after only one or two rings. They do this hoping you'll call back. If you do, you'll be charged premium rates and the scammer will collect the money. These calls are usually made to mobile phones from an 0900 number.

Often scammers use what’s called robo-dialling to carry out phone scamming activity. Robo-dialling is a system that calls a list of numbers collected from various places like the phone book or dark web. If someone answers, the scammer is prompted to start talking.

If no one answers, the system may leave a silent message and you'll be charged international rates if you call the number back. 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.

Spark offers a product that can prevent these types of calls from coming through to you. It's called Call Screen. The Call Screen home phone can help by prompting callers with unsaved numbers to leave their name. Until they do, your phone will not ring. Robo-dialling systems can't leave a name, so the phone won't ring.

You can find more information about Call Screen at spark.co.nz/callscreen

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 or pop-up that looks like it's from Spark. It might tell people that 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 or that they’re among 100 users selected as part of Spark’s loyalty program. They may claim to have smartphones, Countdown gift cards and iPhones up for grabs. All you have to do is answer some anonymous questions for a 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 which sends a copy of all the emails you receive to a different email account.

The scammer then 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. 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. 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:

 

Spark Account Update 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 select Can’t sign in.

Fake Spark password reset email

This scam attempts to blackmail recipients to pay money or risk having their personal
details exposed to family and friends. The scammer claims to have installed
malware or the like on the recipient’s device and has accessed their password
as well as potentially embarrassing footage.

In an attempt to make the email more believable, the scammer will include an old password. The scammer obtains these passwords through historic breaches from other organisations at some point. 

Fake Spark password reset email

What now?

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