Based on your report it looks like you may have been affected by a Friends or Relatives imposter scam. Take a look at the information below for advice on what steps you should take to stay safe.
HOW THIS SCAM WORKS AND WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE:
If you’ve been contacted through a friend or relatives’ online account with the news that your name has been seen on a list of prize winners, or that you are eligible for a valuable grant, you may be the target of this scam.
Scammers can take over a person’s email or social media account and send messages to all their contacts with these claims. They’re trying to trick people into sending money to them. They might say they need money for insurance, a family emergency, taxes or some kind of administration fee but the scammers will keep any money that is sent to them. The prizes and grants they offer are not real.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE RECEIVED THIS SCAM:
- Notify your friend or relative their account has been taken over by a scammer. You’ll need to do this using an alternative contact method that is different to what the scammer has used to contact you (such as a phone call).
- Advise the affected person to re-secure the account that was compromised. The first step in doing this is to have the password for the account reset. For example, if this has happened over Facebook they’ll need to follow the instructions here.
- The affected person should also consider adding extra security to the account. Most platforms and email services support a security feature such as Two Factor Authentication, Two Step Verification or Login Approvals. This can involve using an app or phone number to receive a unique code that will need to be submitted along with the password whenever a new device attempts to access the account.
- Ask them to consider sharing a warning from the account. Once they’ve regained control of the account they can make a post to social media or send an email to explain that a scammer had control of their account for a time and to ignore any requests for money people might have received.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR ACCOUNT WAS TAKEN OVER BY SCAMMERS:
- Immediately re-secure your account. The first step in re-securing an account is to have the password reset. If this has happened on any of the following services/platforms please follow the appropriate link below to begin this process:
- Add extra security to the account. Once you’ve regained access to the account you can use security features such as Two Factor Authentication, Two Step Verification or Login Approvals to stop this from happening again. This can involve using an app or phone number to receive a unique code that will need to be submitted along with the password whenever a new device attempts to access the account.
- Share a warning from the account. Once you’ve regained control of the account you can make a post to social media or send an email to explain that a scammer had control of your account for a time and to ignore any requests for money they might have received.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE SHARED PRIVATE INFORMATION OR BANK DETAILS:
- If you have shared any bank account information you should report the incident to your bank immediately. This includes credit card information.
- If you have sent money using your credit card you can speak to your bank about applying for a charge back.
If you have sent money via an online money transfer platform (such as Bitcoin) the transaction is likely untraceable, and you may not be able to get your money back.
- If you have replied to the scammer with any sensitive personal information, this Identity Theft Checklistis a helpful guide on what could happen with your information. If you believe you may have been exposed to identity theft, we suggest you contact iDCare as they provide free help and support.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU’VE PAID MONEY USING A GIFT CARD:
Scammers often ask for payment in the form of electronic gift cards like the ones from Apple iTunes, Google Play or Steam cards.
Our advice is to consider reporting this to the retailer they were purchased from. Netsafe isn't able to give you any guarantees as to what they may or may not be able to do but it is worthwhile speaking with them about what has happened.
It’s also worthwhile letting the gift card company know about what’s happened. You can find their information pages about this below:
You can subscribe to our monthly newsletter at netsafe.org.nz/newsletter or follow ‘NetsafeNZ’ on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram to keep up with the latest in online safety news, advice and tips.
Keywords: Grant, list of winners, list, seen name, lottery, friend, relative, genuine account, real account, send money, insurance, iTunes, Google Play, Steam