Netsafe in New Zealand

Netsafe is New Zealand’s independent, non-profit online safety organisation. It provides online safety help, support, expertise and education to people in New Zealand. But that information is useful to people of every country.

Netsafe was founded in 1998 to help New Zealand internet users stay safe online.

After noticing the growing influence of technology in their respective areas, the New Zealand Police, Ministry of Education and several not for profits teamed up with telecommunication organisations and IT industry partners to create an independent body focussed on online safety.

Together they created the Internet Safety Group which was rebranded Netsafe in 2008.

Netsafe was given the remit to build an internet safety organisation that didn’t scare people away from technology, but instead encouraged people to adopt it by promoting the tools and techniques they could use to minimise their online risks.

Today Netsafe is an internationally renowned organisation with an unrelenting focus on online safety practice.

As digital technology use grows and evolves at a rapid pace in society, it becomes more important for Netsafe to help people manage and reduce the risk of online harm, so that they feel more confident being online.

Netsafe’s remit is wider than just online security. They aim to cover  Online Bullying & Harassment,  Scams,  Security,  Parenting,  Business.  Educators and  Young People.

There is a reporting tool for anyone wishing to report an online incident that happened to themselves or someone close to them.

There is a wealth of information about common online scams and those in New Zealand are pretty much the same as in other advanced countries. (Developing countries typically face different types of scams.)

There is a lot of security advice but also advice for parents and education workers and sections for young people.

This is a great service offered in New Zealand but also useful to everyone, wherever they live, as scams and other online problems exist the world over.

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Pension Fraudsters Use Anti-Scam Messages

Some pension fraudsters are using genuine anti-scam messages on their websites to try to make their sites look authentic. This is a very cynical ploy.

Recent pension freedom reforms have allowed over-55s to access their retirement savings pots and this has made them a target for scammers.

Fraud experts say that a combination of new rules, investors looking for returns and pensioners withdrawing large sums of cash have created a potentially fertile hunting ground for scammers.

Pension scammers simply copy official scam alerts onto their websites to dupe savers into thinking they are dealing with legitimate businesses, warned the Pensions regulator.

“Scammers are always developing new ways to try to get their hands on people’s pensions so everyone needs to be on the look-out for potential traps.”

Phrases Pension Fraudsters Commonly Use:

  • The offer won’t last long
  • You’re entitled to a free government review
  • There’s a guaranteed 7 per cent return
  • We’ll send a courier over with your documents
  • There’s a legal loophole
  • You’re a sophisticated investor
  • It’s free
  • Your pension company might try to talk you out of it – they just want to keep your money

Be careful.

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Mass Texting Problem

The BBC undercover reporting team managed to confront two men who were responsible for sending out 60 million text messages a month over PPI and road traffic accident claims.

Andrew Horner-Glister and Barry Sanders  boasted about being the biggest creators of nuisance text messages in the UK but say they stopped in 2012 and the companies they ran have been wound up.

That makes it difficult for the authorities to do anything about the pair even though their actions were illegal.

While being secretly filmed, Mr Horner-Glister said: ‘We send 200,000 texts out, get 300 positive responses back, we did that for years. We were probably the largest in the UK.’

So their response rate was just 0.15% and 199,700 people out of the 200,000 had their time wasted with nuisance messages they didn’t want.

Unfortunately it can be so easy and cheap to send out texts and emails that people can do so, without having to think of how much annoyance and time-wasting they cause.

Now you understand why you sometimes get the same annoying message time and time again – the senders don’t care and can’t be bothered to stop sending to people who don’t want the messages.

It’s a shame they cannot be jailed for their activity or at least have their ill-gotten gains confiscated.

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Gmail Phishing Scam


Scammers have long used Hotmail, Yahoo, Yandex email accounts and those of many other email providers. But seldom used Gmail as it is more difficult to create Gmail accounts.


However, people trust Gmail more so the scammers are now creating and using more Gmail accounts.

The Scam

  1. You receive an email from someone you know and open it.
  2. It contains a message and an attached file. As you know the person who sent the message you open the attached file without thinking.
  3. When you click the attachment, you are redirected to what seems to be the Gmail sign-in page and you enter your login and password.
  4. The result is not what you expect. You have in fact given your login and password to a scammer on a fake webpage made to look like a Gmail login screen.
  5. The attachment that is sent isn’t actually an attachment; it is just an image of an attachment which links to a fake Gmail sign in page. When you enter your Gmail login details, it sends them to the scammer and she has instant access to your email account.
  6. As the scammers can access your account, they can send emails that appear to be from you and hence it’s easier for them to convince people who know you to pass on confidential information. And the cycle continues with more people being targeted.

The Dangers

There’s a lot a scammer can do with your email address as most websites use it as an ID. A scammer may try your login and password on numerous websites in the hope of gaining access in your name and hence be able to buy products and you get the bills etc.

Most websites have a ‘forgotten password’ feature so if the scammer uses that they can get the ‘reset password’ message and get hence change your password. Getting access to your own account then becomes seriously difficult.

How to avoid the Gmail Phishing scam:

  • Stay cautious and if not sure of an email then do not open it or any attachment
  • Do not click on links in emails
  • Beware of messages claiming to be from friends but that seem odd
  • Beware of any messages claiming to be from Google about your account

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Stupidest Scam or Spam of the Week

This is an example of a lazy email rather than a particularly stupid one.

Supposedly from Gracie White of for which there is no website.

The email is a typical sales pitch for Search Engine Optimisation i.e. modifying my website to make it more attractive to search engines such as Google and hence likely to get a higher placement on search results.

The email starts with

Hi. Can I call you and take just 15 minutes of your time without any obligation and run through some ideas I have in mind to help your business grow and get you more leads, more customers and more revenue”

Then it goes on to say that what they actually do is get businesses on the first page of Google for their products and services and that they specialise in helping local businesses.

They haven’t looked at our website otherwise they would know Brooklands Radio doesn’t sell anything on the website and has no wish to do so, hence you cannot increase sales.

The domain name is registered in India and the email contains Americanisms. They claim to help local businesses but clearly the spam email has gone out across the world – that’s not exactly local to us.

There’s no company name on the email so this is likely the work of an individual.

It costs basically nothing to flood the world with badly written, dull useless emails and people do so.

They certainly don’t deserve to get any business from such poor behaviour.

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Maintain Online Privacy

One of the wonderful things about the Internet is the capacity to share information quickly and with a lot of people.

Conversely, one of the big problems with the Internet is people with malicious internet obtaining your confidential information.  Everyone from the ‘Big Brother’ of Facebook, Google and others watching everything we do to scammers trying to steal from us.

Here are some actions you can consider to protect your online security

  1. Have up to date anti-virus and anti-malware on all of your computer devices
  2. Don’t give out information that you don’t want scammers to have, unless you are sure of the person or website you are giving it to.
  3. Be careful – if something looks too good to be true then it’s likely to be a scam
  4. Never click on a link or open an attachment unless you are sure it is safe
  5. Avoid public WI-FI if you intend to access online banking or anything else that needs to be secure.

Website Browsing

There are a number of things you can do to make your website browsing more private and safer.

  • Use the privacy/incognito mode
  • Block web activity trackers
  • Block your ads
  • Use encrypted messengers
  • Get a VPN
  • Avoid non-https:// websites for input of confidential information
  • Clear your cookies regularly
  • Use secure/encrypted email providers

The  guide at contains a lot more information on what you can do to maintain your online privacy.

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