One NZ, formerly Spark New Zealand, is the country’s largest telecommunications provider. With millions of mobile, broadband, and landline customers across New Zealand, One NZ has unfortunately become a major target for scammers and fraudsters.
This article will provide an in-depth review of the various One NZ scams that customers should be aware of, including common techniques used, damage caused, and steps to protect yourself.
An Overview of Scamming Activity Against One NZ
Scamming activity aimed at One NZ customers has been on the rise in recent years. Here are some key stats:
✔️ In the first six weeks after launching its Malware Free Networks® service in late 2022, One NZ blocked over 300,000 phishing and scam attempts.
✔️ One NZ reports that the majority of threats blocked relate to phishing scams impersonating trusted companies like NZ Post, IRD, and banks.
✔️ In August 2022, One NZ warned customers of a “visa cancellation” robocall scam making the rounds.
✔️ Fake One NZ billing emails are a common occurrence, aimed at stealing login credentials and credit card details.
✔️ Fraudsters have created fake One NZ Facebook pages to scam customers.
✔️ Wangiri “one ring” scams frequently target One NZ mobile customers.
✔️ Customers also report frequent tech support scams, romance scams, smishing attempts, and more.
This shows that One NZ customers are being targeted with a wide variety of scam tactics, with phishing, smishing, and social engineering being especially prevalent.
The sheer volume of scam attempts blocked by One NZ’s security systems also demonstrates how relentless scammers are in attacking telco customers.
A Breakdown of Common One NZ Scam Tactics
Let’s take a closer look at some of the main scam tactics used against One NZ customers:
Phishing remains one of the most common scams around. Fraudsters send emails pretending to be from One NZ, often including branding and logos to appear legitimate.
These emails will contain links to fake login pages asking for your One NZ credentials, or fake billing forms requesting credit card details to “pay your bill”. If entered, this sensitive information goes straight to the scammers.
One NZ has published examples of real phishing emails that have targeted customers, clearly showing their malicious intent. Key signs of a phishing email include poor spelling/grammar, unusual sender addresses, and urgent calls to action.
Smishing/TXT Message Scams
Similar to phishing emails, smishing involves scam TXT messages pretending to be from One NZ. These will also include links to fake sites asking for personal information or bank details.
One NZ has warned about smishing texts regarding billing issues, account suspensions, fantastic deals, and more. Their advice is to never click links or call numbers in suspicious texts.
Wangiri scams also known as “one ring” scams, this involves international numbers calling your phone and hanging up after 1 ring. They hope curious recipients will call back, racking up big premium charges that go to the scammers.
One NZ customers have reported receiving frequent wangiri calls from overseas numbers they don’t recognize.
Tech Support Scams
This scam starts with a call claiming to be from One NZ or a trusted tech company like Microsoft. They’ll say your computer has a virus or other issues that require urgent support. The goal is to get remote access to your computer and steal personal data or install malware. One NZ says these calls often spoof local NZ numbers.
Fake Social Media Profiles
One NZ has called attention to scammers creating fake Facebook profiles pretending to be the real company. They advertise discounted products to lure victims into sending money for goods they’ll never receive.
Fraudsters build online relationships under false pretenses to eventually ask for money. This has cost Kiwis millions in recent years. While not unique to One NZ customers, their extensive customer base presents a ripe target.
One NZ warned about an automated “visa cancellation” robocall scam in 2022. It starts with a recording claiming the recipient’s visa is being cancelled, asking them to press 1 for English or 2 for Chinese. This likely leads to a phishing scam upon selection.
There are also reports of scammers calling while posing as One NZ customer service. They may claim your account is about to be suspended or that outstanding fees must be paid immediately via credit card over the phone. This is always a scam tactic.
Who is Behind One NZ Scamming Activity?
Most scammers targeting One NZ customers operate internationally, often from major scam hubs:
- West Africa – Nigerian cybercriminals are notorious for online/phone scams of all types, especially romance scams.
- Eastern Europe – Scam groups in places like Russia and Ukraine frequently target NZ victims.
- Southeast Asia – Major scam centers exist in countries like the Philippines and Malaysia.
- India – Impersonation scams often originate from crowded Indian call centers.
- China – Scammers take advantage of language barriers to target Chinese Kiwis.
However, local scammers within NZ also exist. Organized groups have developed sophisticated phone and online scam operations targeting nationwide businesses and telcos.
The common motivator is always money. Scammers may work independently or in organized groups seeking quick financial gain through fraud.
The Damage Caused by One NZ Scams
While One NZ’s security efforts block many scam attempts, they still succeed frequently enough to cause significant consumer harm. Some examples:
🚫 Customers have reported thousands of dollars stolen after entering details into fake One NZ billing forms. Bank accounts can be drained and identities stolen.
🚫 Wangiri scams have left some with hundreds of dollars in unwanted international call charges.
🚫 Malware and viruses installed via tech support scams can fully compromise devices and accounts.
🚫 Romance scam victims have been conned out of life savings in some tragic cases.
🚫 If credentials are compromised via phishing, it can take tremendous time and effort to regain control and restore security.
🚫 Stress, anxiety, and emotional duress also results after being targeted by scammers.
In summary, One NZ scams can lead to major financial losses, security headaches, and personal turmoil for affected customers.
How to Protect Yourself from One NZ Scams
Here are some tips customers can follow to avoid falling victim to One NZ scams:
⛔ Never click links or call numbers in unsolicited emails/texts – these will always be scams. Go directly to the One NZ website/app if concerned about your account.
⛔ Don’t answer calls from suspicious overseas or unknown numbers. Let unknown numbers go to voicemail.
⛔ Use call screening and blocking tools on your phone. Your operator may provide these. Apps like Truecaller can also help identify scam calls.
⛔ Beware calls/emails requiring immediate payment by credit card orgift cards. One NZ will never do this.
⛔ Never give control of your computer to a random caller claiming to be tech support.
⛔ Avoid entering personal details into forms online, especially in response to texts/emails.
⛔ Only call verified One NZ numbers listed on their official website – scammers often spoof real numbers.
⛔ If in doubt about a call’s authenticity, hang up and call One NZ directly to confirm. Don’t rely on Caller ID.
⛔ Never send money to someone you only know online, no matter how convincing their story.
⛔ Use strong unique passwords and multi-factor authentication wherever possible.
⛔ Keep software updated and use antivirus protection on all devices.
Following these tips, maintaining awareness, and trusting your instincts will go a long way in protecting yourself from scammers impersonating One NZ.
How to Report One NZ Scams
If you receive a suspected scam attempt impersonating One NZ, reporting it ASAP helps protect others:
✅ Use One NZ’s online form to report smishing text scams. Include the number, content, date, and time.
✅ Notify One NZ customer service of any suspicious calls claiming to be the company.
✅ File a report with NetSafe and CERT NZ to aid investigations into wider scam campaigns.
✅ Contact your phone provider to block abusive overseas numbers used in wangiri scams.
✅ Report fake social media profiles impersonating One NZ using each platform’s reporting tools.
✅ If financial losses occur, contact your bank immediately and file a report with police.
By taking a few quick minutes to report One NZ impersonation scams, you can help get fraudulent numbers blocked, fake sites taken down, and stop others from falling victim. Your vigilance makes a difference in the fight against scammers.
Criticisms of One NZ’s Handling of Scams
While One NZ offers recommendations on avoiding scams, some customers argue they need to take more assertive action:
Lack of call blocking – Unlike some providers overseas, One NZ does not offer network-level call screening and blocking tools. Customers want these services enabled by default.
Slow scam warnings – Customers report One NZ can take weeks to warn of new scam trends hitting their networks. Faster public alerts could prevent victimization.
No customer compensation – One NZ apparently refuses to compensate customers who fall prey to scams enabled via their networks and systems. Critics argue this passes liability to victims rather than taking ownership.
No multi-factor authentication – Most One NZ accounts lack additional authentication beyond a password. Enabling two-factor options could prevent many phishing compromises.
Minimal policy enforcement – Critics say One NZ needs to implement stronger policies restricting overseas calls on accounts prone to wangiri scams until customers opt-in.
Essentially, some customers feel One NZ needs to take a more hardline approach to restricting scammer access and implementing protective measures by default, rather than putting the onus entirely on customers.
However, One NZ claims issues like caller ID spoofing make blocking international calls ineffective against sophisticated scammers. They aim to strike a balance between protection and account utility. Customers remain split on whether One NZ does enough proactively to counter growing scam threats.
Outlook for One NZ Scam Prevention
Looking ahead, here are some predictions for One NZ’s future approach to scammer protection:
- Expanded implementation of network-based security systems like Malware Free Networks to automatically block more scam threats before they reach customers.
Tighter account security requirements including mandatory multi-factor authentication.
Proactive customer communication when new scam trends emerge targeting One NZ accounts.
Stronger policies and defaults to minimize risks like wangiri scams for vulnerable customer groups.
Working closely with local and international law enforcement to shut down scam operations targeting their customer base.
Increased staff training to quickly identify and assist customers who have fallen victim to scams enabled via One NZ systems and numbers.
Leveraging AI analytics on customer complaints and security reports to quickly respond to new types of scams in a targeted manner as they emerge.
As scammers continue evolving their techniques, One NZ will need to take an increasingly aggressive technological and policy approach to protect customers without overly restricting account features and utility. Finding the right balance will be key to overcoming this growing threat.
Scamming activity aimed at stealing money and information from One NZ customers is clearly rampant, based on the wide variety of phishing, smishing, calling, and social media scams reported.
Customers should exercise extreme caution when receiving unsolicited contacts claiming to be One NZ and follow best practices to avoid falling victim. While One NZ does implement security measures to block many scam attempts, some critics argue they need to take stronger default precautions on behalf of customers.
However, with scam tactics constantly evolving, One NZ will likely need to maintain an adaptive approach combining technology, policy, law enforcement collaboration, and customer education to counter this persistent fraud threat impacting a large portion of New Zealand’s population.