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The New Zealand Superannuation Fund today gave details of how some New Zealand residents have been targeted by scammers falsely claiming to represent the NZ Super Fund and provided advice on how to detect and avoid such fraud.

“We are aware of two incidents,” says Mark Fennell, General Manager Risk at the Guardians, the Crown entity that manages the NZ Super Fund.

“In the first of these, direct approaches were made to an individual via Facebook, in which the scammers, using fake names and images, solicited investments in the name of the Fund.

“Unfortunately, this individual lost money as a result of this fraud.

“In the second incident, we were alerted to scammers offering cryptocurrency investments in the name of the NZ Super Fund. We are unaware whether anyone lost money in this instance.”

Mr Fennell says the NZ Super Fund does not, and has never, offered investments of any sort to individuals, and nor does the Fund trade cryptocurrency investments.

“The Fund is a sovereign wealth fund, managing a large investment portfolio on behalf of the New Zealand Government, to help fund the rising cost of national superannuation. We do not invest on behalf of individuals and we will never contact individuals to offer investment opportunities.”

“If you are approached directly, via Facebook or other channels, and offered investments by an organisation or individual claiming to represent the NZ Super Fund, you should not engage with the scammers.  You should immediately notify the FMA, Consumer Protection, CERT or Netsafe of the approach, or go to the Police if you are reporting a criminal act.”

“Online criminals can be persistent, sophisticated and brazen in their approach. That’s why we, working with other organisations, will remain extremely vigilant and do what we can to detect fraud, promote advice on how to keep safe online, and also keep educating New Zealanders on the role of the NZ Super Fund.

“We have succeeded in getting the fake Facebook profiles removed and advised complainants on how to report the matter to banks and New Zealand Police, and strengthened our monitoring processes. Our website includes a clear statement on the fact that we do not manage people’s savings or investments.”

“We urge New Zealanders to stay alert, and to check out the good advice offered by the FMA, Netsafe, CERT and others on how to recognise the signs of attempted scams, and how to avoid and report on them,” says Mr Fennell.

Mr Fennell says the Guardians has been working with the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) on the issue, which has included the scams on its notification list. The FMA provides advice on how to protect yourself from investment scams, including:

  • ignore uninvited investment offers;
  • do not invest through offshore, online businesses, and;
  • use a licensed or registered financial service provider, which can be confirmed by checking the provider is listed on the Financial Service Providers register (FSPR).

For those people who think they might have been scammed, Consumer Protection advises:

  • stop all contact with the scammer;
  • do not make any more payments, and;
  • contact the bank or service you sent money through.

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