NEWSLETTER OF THE
MINISTRY OF CONSUMER AFFAIRS
fraud awareness week ...
rental car merchants ...
tdr launched ...
CONSUMER AFFAIRS | MARCH 2008
scams, fraud and some questionable marketing and
Almost every consumer is likely to be the target of
scams and it is a worldwide problem in both developed,
and developing nations. In Britain, research has shown
that nearly one in ten people have lost money to
scammers, with an average loss of over $2000 per
scam. A New Zealand survey completed in 2006
suggested that around half the population has been
exposed to some type of scam, with around one in five
having exposure to scams seeking money. In qualitative
interviews undertaken following the survey, people
reported repeated and ongoing exposure to scams.
Scams are difficult to address using traditional
legislative and enforcement approaches as they tend
to cross international boundaries, be highly prevalent
and rapidly changing, and are perpetuated by those
who have a number of strategies for avoiding detection
by authorities. Where there is legal protection against
scams, it is difficult to enforce. In other cases, although
scams are deceitful and dishonest, they are not
actually illegal. Research undertaken in New Zealand
demonstrated that people don’t perceive a scam offer
as a crime and few would consider reporting it to
Fraud and scamming continues to be an issue of
concern to the International Consumer Protection
and Education Network (ICPEN), to the Australasian
Consumer Fraud Taskforce, and to governments,
business and consumers all around the world. In
February and March 2008, a number of campaigns
were run throughout the world, to focus on fraud and
consumer protection and education.
The New Zealand effort, Fraud Awareness Week 2008,
ran 3 to 10 March and focused on encouraging
consumers to recognise and ‘not respond’ to scams.
It was made up of a core campaign which provided a
focus and encouraged the i