‘Recovery room’ scams deal double whammy to victims

April 3, 2024

‘Recovery room’ scams deal double whammy to victims

Cybercrime authorities warn victims of cold calls offering to retrieve lost money for a fee. Photo: Ryan Bos

A cybercrime authority is warning New Zealanders not to become complacent around scams, or they could risk getting scammed twice.

The Computer Emergency Response Team New Zealand (CERT NZ) authority warns New Zealanders of ‘recovery room’ scams, even as scam reports decrease.

Sebastian Waldschmidt, a Threat and Incident Response Coordinator at CERT NZ, says people most vulnerable to recovery room scams are those who have previously been scammed.

“Falling for scams leaves people in an emotionally vulnerable state. People can be quite desperate to get their money and recover their funds.”

He says scammers often use the victim’s embarrassment and desperation against them.

“Recovery room scammers will seek to leverage this point to gain compliance from their targets.”

According to Waldschmidt, they will contact scam victims pretending to help them and, in the process, remove even more money – usually requesting an upfront fee from their victims.

The Banking Ombudsman Scheme website says that once payment has been made, the victim will never hear back from the recovery room.

“Once the scam victim pays upfront fees to the recovery room fraudster, he or she won’t get any money back from the previous scam.”

Waldschmidt says scammers will tailor the scam to victims through information gathered online or from previous scams.

“Sometimes scammers will pose as representatives of government agencies, financial regulators, or law enforcement.”

He says victims of scams looking to recover their money should speak to their bank, CERT NZ or the police directly.

“Be very careful of people cold calling you offering recovery services. Be careful about paying someone to get your money back in general”.

Waldschmidt stresses the importance of people reporting every scam, whether they suffered financial loss or not, so that CERT NZ can better protect people from these types of scams.

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