Scams and phishing - what to look out for

One of the best ways to stay safe online is knowing what to look out for. Here are some common threats and internet scams you can avoid.

Do you think you've been targeted by an online or phone scam? Please contact us on 0800 327 863. ASB takes security seriously and we'll do everything we can to help you.



Phishing is the process of trying to get information from people by pretending to be a trustworthy organisation. In most cases the scammer will send fake company emails asking for things like usernames, passwords or credit card details.

These emails can be very convincing. Sometimes they make offers for money, refunds or 'essential' updates to try and get you to act.

Typically, a phishing email will ask you to click on a link that takes you to a fake website. Once there, you are prompted to 'log in' to internet banking or provide personal details. They use this site to capture your information so they can use it fraudulently.

A phishing email can also contain malicious attachments that, if opened or downloaded, could compromise your system and information without your knowledge.

Think you've received a phishing email?

  • Don't click on any links within the email or reply to it
  • Forward the email to our dedicated email scam team at phishing@asb.co.nz
  • Delete the email from your inbox, your sent box and your deleted items folder

Think you've been taken to a phishing site?

  • Close your browser immediately
  • Change your banking password immediately by calling 0800 327 863, or through FastNet internet banking or the mobile app
  • Empty your browser cache and clear your browser history
  • Contact an IT professional to verify that your computer is malware-free
  • Call us on 0800 327 863 if you have any concerns

Think you've entered your details into a phishing site?

  • Change your banking password immediately by calling us on 0800 327 863, or through FastNet internet banking or the mobile app


SPAM offers

These 'junk mail' offers generally involve free or extremely cheap deals that are sent via email. The goal is usually to get money or personal details from you. Some attempt to get you to download keylogger software that can track everything you type and send it on to the scammer.


  • If you don't know who sent an email, it's probably best to delete it
  • In New Zealand it's against the law to send unsolicited emails so you can also report these emails as spam


Domain name renewal

Another scam is to send a notice for a domain name that's very close to yours and hope that you don't notice the difference. If you receive a renewal for your internet domain name, check carefully that it's from the correct registrar.


  • Always double-check before paying for anything online
  • If you have any questions or complaints about anything to do with a New Zealand ".nz" domain, check the website of the NZ Domain Name Commission



Trojans are little bits of software that infect a web browser and have the ability to modify pages, transaction content or even insert additional transactions. This can happen in a completely covert fashion invisible to bother the user and host application.


  • Keep an eye on online transactions, and ensure you shop only on reputable sites
  • If something seems a bit strange, investigate further or contact an IT professional


Viruses and worms

A virus is a software program that copies itself when it's triggered. Usually that's when you download it, or open an unusual file. Once triggered, a virus can be desctructive and do things like overwrite files on a computer's hard drive.

A worm is like a virus that actively looks for ways to spread itself to other computers. This means worms can spread extremely quickly.


  • Only download files from reputable sources and be wary about opening files that look different or unusual, or come from someone you don't know
  • A good anti-virus software will help protect you from viruses and worms, even if you're using an Apple device


Money Mules & Travelling overseas

Occasionally you may be offered the chance to send and receive money on behalf of someone else. This may well be a money laundering scheme and if you take part you could be breaking the law.

People who get caught up in this type of thing are known as 'money mules'. Mules can be recruited in many ways including spam emails, recruitment websites and even newspaper ads. Once recruited, mules receive funds into their account, which they then withdraw and send overseas, usually minus a commission payment. The mule is the easiest part of the chain to track down and supplying any information to fraudsters can put them at risk of identity fraud.


  • Be wary about receiving money from people you don't know online
  • If it looks too good to be true, it probably is



A scammer could send you a cheque or an internet banking payment for something, but 'accidentally' pay too much. They may then ask you for a refund of the difference, which they hope you'll pay before you discover that the original cheque is worthless.


  • Be extremely careful about financial transactions with people you don't know
  • If you're using TradeMe, consider using services like 'SafeTrader'


Card skimming

This is a hi-tech way of copying information from the magnetic strip on your bank cards. Once copied, this information can be downloaded onto another card and used to make purchases on your account.

Skimming devices can be very subtle so the best way to avoid skimming is by:

  • Swiping the card in the machine yourself
  • If you do hand over your card, keep it in your sight at all times
  • Use a chip card like an ASB Visa Debit card
  • If you think your card has been copied, you can lock it using the FastNet Classic internet banking mobile app. Make sure you call us at 0800 327 963.


Identity theft

If someone dishonest gets hold of your old bank or credit card statements they can use that information to steal money. So always keep important documents safe and destroy them (ideally by shredding them) before you throw them out.


  • Never leave important documents or statements lying around - especially if you live in a flat or other shared accommodation


Phone scams

This is where someone calls you and says that they're from a reputable company or business and may ask you to log into your computer as 'their system has reported it as having a virus' or even directly ask you for your card PIN.

They may sound very convincing, so remember:

  • You can insist for their name and number and can call them back
  • Or simply hang up on them

ASB will never call you directly and ask you to confirm your banking password, or the PIN number to your accounts or credit card.

Further reading

You can read more about scams at the New Zealand Government's Consumer Protection site.

Contact us

Call us

If you are concerned that there has been a breach in your ASB account security, contact us immediately.

0800 327 863

Suspicious email or SMS message?

Forward any suspicious looking emails to phishing@asb.co.nz.

If you receive a suspicious SMS message please delete it.

If you’re concerned about either an email or SMS you’ve received, call us on 0800 327 863.

Other helpful guides

ASBScams and phishing - what to look out for