Cybercrime refers to a variety of crimes that are carried out online. It can happen on any personal or workplace device - computers, laptops, tablets, internet-enabled televisions, game consoles, and often smart phones.
Online fraud is one common type of cybercrime. It happens when someone dishonestly tricks or deceives you to get money, goods, services, property, or private information from you online. Often the offender will not be living in New Zealand.
Anyone can be a victim of cybercrime and online fraud. Online criminals continue to come up with new ways of misleading and tricking innocent people, like stealing confidential personal information for identity theft, romance fraud, bullying, sexual grooming, online investment fraud, fraudulent internet sales, online lotteries, phishing attacks, financial fraud, or ransom attacks.
You are not to blame for this crime, the offender is. Even the most careful people and businesses can be caught out.
Our Support Workers are available to support you personally, or as a family or whānau, for as long as you need us. You can call us 24/7 on 0800 842 846 to be connected with a Support Worker.
Immediately stop all contact with the hacker, fraudster, or scammer
Do not make any more payments or provide any further products or services to them.
Immediately contact the bank or service you sent the person money or other things through
They will have a policy in place to deal with fraud and will explain the next steps you can take.
Report the crime to police as soon as possible
They can give you advice on how best to respond to this situation and keep safe. They will advise you what they can do to investigate and find the offender.
If you’re concerned for your immediate safety, or someone else’s, call police on 111.
Call the non-emergency number on 105 or go online to report what has been happening to you or others you know.
Go to your local police station and talk with the person at the front counter. They will advise you about what to do. You may be able to speak to an officer straight away. Consider taking a support person with you. Find your closest Police Station here.
Give a statement
The police will interview you and ask you to give a statement to assist their investigations. Your information could help in a criminal court case later.
- A police officer will write down or record what happened.
- What you say must be true. Giving police false information is a serious matter.
- You’ll be asked to read it through to check it’s correct and sign to confirm it’s an accurate report of what happened to you.
Support the investigation
Police may investigate the case. This can take some time and they may need to interview you again. They will keep you updated on progress of their investigation.
For serious and complex fraud, bribery, or corruption, you can report it to the Serious Fraud Office.
Take immediate steps to protect yourself and your family and whānau further cybercrime or online fraud
Police, Netsafe, and Business NZ all provide helpful advice and essential actions to take:
Advice for businesses by Business NZ - Avoiding Scams and Fraud
If there is a court case
Police will be in touch with you to talk about the court process and invite you to give a Victim Impact Statement. They will explain what giving evidence will involve if you are to be a court witness. Police will also let you know when and where you may be needed to give your evidence. Sometimes there can be delays in a court case, so they will let you know if that happens.
Using your phone safely
- Keeping your mobile phone safe and secure (Cert NZ)
- Mobile and phone harassment and abuse (Netsafe) - see here for advice on how to block someone.
What is identity theft? What can I do if I think I am a victim of it?
Identity theft is using the identity information of another person to pretend to be them. This can have serious consequences for people. The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) offers this helpful information about identity theft.
Everyone’s different and will react in their own way
Many victims of cybercrime and online fraud experience strong emotions, including embarrassment, guilt, or shame that they fell for someone’s dishonest and criminal online tactics. Even the most careful people and businesses can be caught out. You are not to blame. It is the offender who is responsible for this crime.
You might also feel angry and resentful that you have to pay for the financial and other consequences of someone else’s dishonesty. Your levels of worry and stress will probably increase, and you may experience sadness and grief for what you have lost.
Worrying thoughts might be repeating in your mind and you might have difficulty concentrating, are more forgetful, and find it’s hard to think clearly. You may experience nightmares. People can sometimes experience panic attacks as they deal with high levels of ongoing anxiety.
Physically you might have difficulty sleeping or changes in your appetite. Other common physical reactions include headaches, body aches, a tight chest, difficulty breathing, nausea, or stomach upsets. You might feel exhausted and have low energy levels.
You might find you become more irritable than usual and want to be with other people more, or to be on your own more. You may also struggle to trust others. These situations can seem very unjust and unfair.
These kinds of reactions are all normal
However, they might affect you more, and for longer, than you expect. See some tips below for coping with your reactions.
Every situation is different, but this type of crime can be distressing and traumatic. Cybercrime and online fraud can often have far reaching and very serious consequences.
Looking after yourself is important
Make time to take care of yourself. Eat healthy food. Drink enough water. Keep up routines and get good rest and sleep, as best you can. Do some simple exercise. Take some slow, deep breaths. Spend time with people you can relax with, or with a pet. Spend time in nature. If you find keeping busy helps, find useful tasks to do. See a doctor if you’re unwell, extremely anxious, or are having difficulty sleeping. Draw on any cultural or spiritual beliefs you may have. Accept caring offers from others if that would help.
Talk about what happened
When you’re ready, talk to someone you trust about what happened, such as a trusted member of your family, whānau, a close friend, your doctor, a counsellor, a psychologist, a respected elder, rangatira, or a Victim Support worker. If the cybercrime or online fraud happened at work, talk with a trusted business colleague, employer, or financial or cyber business expert. Talking honestly about what’s happened and how things are can help release the stress and emotional tension inside.
More tips for coping with your reactions
To understand more about trauma and grief, and to learn ways to manage your reactions, please see:
Your reactions are normal responses to being a victim of fraud
Even though it may not feel like it now, they will gradually lessen in the weeks and months to come.
If your reactions trouble you:
Visit your doctor. They can do a health check and support you with any ongoing issues, such as sleeplessness, anxiety, flashbacks, or depression.
Consider talking with a counsellor or psychologist. They can help you work through your reactions and the consequences the crime has had.
If you need to find a local doctor, counsellor, or psychologist, please click here.
We are here for you 24/7
Our Support Workers are available to support you personally, or as a family or whānau, for as long as you need us. Please call us on 0800 842 846 (24/7) to be connected with a Support Worker.
Our support is completely free and confidential, and available throughout Aotearoa New Zealand.
What we can offer
Our Support Workers can support you with:
- someone to listen, talk with, and support you to cope through trauma and loss
- help to understand your rights and make informed choices
- information and help to answer your questions
- help to access local support services and counselling to suit your situation
- someone to assist and support you at court trials, hearings, and dealing with police and other government agencies
- help to prepare Victim Impact Statements and attend family group or restorative justice conferences
- financial assistance for victims of serious crime.
We are committed to providing quality support to strengthen the mana and well-being of all those affected by cybercrime or online fraud.
If you have English as a second language
If you require support in your first language, Victim Support can use Ezispeak to connect with an interpreter over the phone. Call us on 0800 842 846 and let us know. We will try to match you to a Support Worker who speaks your language.