Fraudsters posing as reps for a legitimate Japanese company, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Corporation, are cold-calling investors. “The callers are very clever and persuasive,” says Ministry of Consumer Affairs Team Leader Jarrod Rendle. “They make offers that are very hard to resist. Add to that an impressive website and documentation that appears genuine and even the most seasoned investor is at risk of being taken in.”
The warning comes after a Wellington man was approached, offering to buy his “penny shares” in a United States firm. The catch was that they wanted $3000 up-front to “clear” the transaction. The man believes the scammers got his cellphone number from an overseas shareholder register. This makes their approach all the more plausible and they have sophisticated, cloned website of the actual company.
The Financial Markets Authority (FMA) advises the safest way to buy shares in overseas companies is through a registered New Zealand broker, who is responsible under New Zealand law. You can check a caller’s credentials for free on the Financial Service Providers Register or by calling the FMA. The FMA also has information on how to invest safely, publishes the names of firms that have tried to scam people in New Zealand, as well as a list of the official-sounding agencies scammers use to try to prove their authenticity.
This warning comes from a cross-agency working group that was formed to share resources and better identify and publicise consumer fraud and scams. It is chaired by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and includes the Department of Internal Affairs‘ Anti-Spam Compliance Unit and non-government organisation Netsafe.
• For cyber safety advice visit www.netsafe.org.nz
• For info on spam, or to report email, fax or text spam go to www.antispam.govt.nz
• For more info on scams visit www.scamwatch.govt.nz
• For details of those on the Financial Service Providers Register visit www.business.govt.nz/fsp, or call the FMA on 0800 434 556, or visit www.fma.govt.nz