Page last updated: 16 November 2021

Real life scam stories

Around one in five Kiwis has been targeted by an investment scam, according to FMA research, Unfortunately, some have actually lost money.

Scammers thrive on the shame that often comes with such a loss. They don’t want victims to tell others about it because that could disrupt their dishonest activities.

Below are real stories of everyday Kiwis who lost money to investment scams – but took positive action by reporting it to the FMA and then sharing their stories so others can see what scams look like.

You can be a hero too. If you see or hear of any suspicious investment offers, contact the FMA.

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  1. Real life scam stories

    22 January 2024

    Financial advice scam - James loses $600 in cold-calling swindle

    James shares his story to help prevent others being caught out by a cold-calling crook offering financial advice. Retired widower James won’t be picking up calls from unknown numbers anymore after falling foul of a scam that saw him pay $600 for investment that was pitched as ‘financial advice’ from a cold caller.
  2. 19 July 2022

    Fraud case study: Close call in Starlink IPO share scam

    This fraud case study documents the story of someone we call Sarah (not her real name) to report an odd encounter she had with a company claiming to help her get shares in Starlink – the global satellite-based internet venture founded by Tesla and SpaceX’s Elon Musk.
  3. 27 August 2021

    Connected with a con: Nisha met a scammer on LinkedIn

    Nisha contacted the FMA in May 2021 to report a scam targeting users of popular social media platform Linkedin. She had connected with a woman who convinced her to invest with an entity called Standard Coin Options, which then insisted she pay them ‘tax’ before they would release her ‘profits’
  4. 16 August 2021

    How a family chat might have saved one man from losing $50,000 to an investment scam

    When a band of international scammers launches a sophisticated, multi-person project to fleece you out of your money, your best protection might be closer to home than you think.

    Bill* is in his early 70s, lives in a small provincial town and works in the health sector. He fell victim to an international share trading fraud which all began with an unsolicited phone call from a man in New York, ringing as part of a survey associated with Wall St Journal.
  5. 15 July 2021

    Match! Jane met scammer on dating app and lost over $100,000

    Jane contacted the FMA in June 2021 to report a serious investment scam that had cost her more than $100,000. The scammer initially matched with Jane on popular dating app, Hinge, in March. After months of chatting, he lured her into a complicated investment scam involving supposed forex currency trading. Here’s her story.
  6. 19 November 2020

    Private investment company impersonated by scammers

    GRC Investments Limited is a private investment company based in Christchurch that scammers have sought to exploit by impersonating them. The FMA issued a warning in September that an investment scam appeared to be operating under a similar name – G.R.C Trustee.
  7. 12 May 2020

    Samena lost $2300 to a cryptocurrency scam

    Samena lost $2,300 after a co-worker she looked up to as an “older sister” talked her into giving money to a global cryptocurrency scam called OneCoin.
  8. 13 November 2018

    Supporting scam victims: Simon helped his father-in-law spot a scam

    What would you do if you thought a family member was being scammed?That was Simon’s dilemma after he became concerned about his father-in-law Richard. Simon believes the scammers first made contact with Richard by ringing him to take part in a phone survey - a classic scamming tactic.
  9. 12 November 2018

    Know the scam warning signs: Bob’s story highlights the tactics scammers use

    Bob is a consultant who lives in Christchurch. He’s invested in shares for many years, owns his own home, and is in KiwiSaver. Recently, Bob lost $67,000 through a ‘boiler room’ share scam after an overseas company called him, offering him the chance to invest in a pharmaceutical firm.