16 August 2023

What to do if you think a friend or family member is being scammed - with Nigel Latta, Clinical Psychologist

What to do if you think a friend or family member is being scammed

In support of Sorted Money Month, the FMA has teamed up with clinical psychologist Nigel Latta to help you understand how you can support a friend or family member who has been caught up in an investment scam.   


Most of us think we wouldn’t fall for an investment scam, but the truth is we are all vulnerable, and lots of smart, sensible people get caught up in this stuff every dayScammers- especially investment scammers who use sophisticated techniques- are very good at deceiving smart people.


Because many scams are operated by criminals overseas, once you’ve given them any money it is very hard and very rare to get it back – even from countries with tough anti-fraud laws.


Nigel’s tips for helping a loved one who has been scammed 

  • Be empathetic and understanding  
    They’ll probably be feeling foolish, and embarrassed so refrain from passing judgement. It’s really important to reinforce that scammers are very good at deceiving smart people, particularly investment scammers.    
  • Be patient  
    It might initially be hard for the person to accept they’ve been scammed, so make sure you explain why you think they’ve been scammed simply and clearly.  
  • Encourage them to stop all contact with the scammer 
    Prompt them to contact their bank immediately to try and prevent any further harm. 
  • Report the scam to the Financial Markets Authority  
    While it’s rare to be able to recover scammed money, the FMA can look into the scam and warn others. Report an investment scam by contacting 0800 434 566 or [email protected].

About Nigel Latta 

Nigel, a trained Clinical Psychologist, spent over 20 years working in the areas of forensic psychology and family therapy. In 2012, he earned the ONZM for contributions to psychology and authored eight books published in 19 countries.  

He recently produced and featured in “You’ve been scammed,” a 4-part documentary series airing on TVNZ+. Nigel uses real life scam cases as well as his own stings and experiments to demonstrate how behavioural traits are used against us.  

Nigel demonstrates why the fear of missing out (FOMO) puts you at risk of an investment scam in episode 2.