No matter if you’re a seasoned pro or a new investor, we’re all vulnerable to being scammed. Here’s where to learn more about the different types of investment scams, including cryptocurrency scams, and how to keep yourself safe.

Cold call investment scams

Cold call scams are when scammers contact you on your phone. A common investment scam includes when a scammer calls and claims to be a stock broker or portfolio manager and offers financial or investment advice. They claim the investment opportunity they're offering, which is usually in overseas companies, is low-risk, but offers fast and high returns. These scams are often sophisticated to the point they'll have created fake websites and other material to back up their claims. They'll be persistent and may keep calling you back.

It’s illegal to sell financial products through a cold call in New Zealand. If you’re contacted in this way, it’s likely to be a scam.

Cryptocurrency scams

Digital currencies, including Bitcoin and others such as Ethereum, have been around since 2008 and although these are popular investment options, the currencies aren't regulated in New Zealand.

Cryptocurrencies and anyone trading in digital currencies are often the target of attacks and online scams. In recent years there have been attacks on cryptocurrency exchanges, the places where currencies are stored, leading to investors losing significant sums.

More recently scams are circulating on social media sites and messaging apps like WhatsApp, offering unrealistic investment returns. Some of these scams claim to be endorsed by well-known New Zealanders or are run as pyramid type schemes where investors are encouraged to bring others on board the scheme. People will often be scammed into believing they're investing in their own cryptocurrency wallets, however when they try to withdraw their investments they're unable to or are asked for more money to "release" their investment.

Own your online have some further details about cryptocurrency security.

Tips to avoid investment scams

Cold call scams

  • Politely say 'no thanks' and hang up the phone - they're likely to be persistent, so you may need to do this a few times.
  • It might be tempting to engage them in conversation to try and 'trick' them or argue with them - don't do this as they may put you on a 'harass' list.
  • If you're unsure whether you're talking to a scammer or a legitimate organisation, hang up and call the organisation using their official helpline number. Don't use the contact number or websites they've provided to you.
  • The Financial Markets Authority have a list of businesses or individuals you should be wary of if you're planning to invest.
  • If you're still unsure, get in touch with us.

Cryptocurrency scams

  • Do your research into the platforms you're using to purchase or trade digital currencies and use New Zealand-based platforms where possible.
  • Use extreme caution when interacting with any digital ads and social media posts and chat groups offering cryptocurrency investments.
  • Be wary of anyone encouraging you to invest and do your research on the person you're interacting with.
  • Be aware of the risks.
  • Know what you’re getting into when purchasing cryptocurrency.

Helpful resources

What to do if you've been scammed

Anyone can fall for an investment scam. If you suspect that you've been scammed, get in touch with us as soon as possible.

Get in touch

Call us on 0800 113 355 (or +64 4 473 1133 from overseas) if you think you've been scammed.

Report suspicious activity

If you think you’ve been sent an email that doesn’t look like it’s from us, forward it to