The Department of Internal Affairs

The Department of Internal Affairs

Te Tari Taiwhenua

Building a safe, prosperous and respected nation


Spammers hijack NZ company identities

7 September 2012

Foreign spammers are hijacking New Zealand finance company identities in offering jobs for payment protection agents, Internal Affairs warned today.

Anti-spam senior investigator, Toni Demetriou, says messages linked to money laundering have been around for a number of years but the Department has received several complaints involving legitimate New Zealand finance groups.

“Typically, the message will say a reputable recruitment agency has reviewed the recipient’s CV and offer them a Payment Protection Agent position within a particular financial group,” he said.

“The offer appears attractive and a quick way to earn money but those who participate may themselves fall victim to theft, not receive any ‘salary’ or even be considered to be connected to criminal activity. The messages appear to be advertising a money mule or money laundering operation, whereby a person receives payments, usually stolen money, from an unknown source, and passes the payments on to another unknown source.

“The message sender tends to register internet domains, create websites and email addresses to create an illusion that what they are offering is legitimate. But the websites, often hosted in Russia, are bogus with duplicated designs and subtly altered information from legitimate finance groups’ websites.

“The finance groups are unaware that their details have been ripped off until they hear from a recipient.”

Anyone receiving such messages should not respond but forward them to the Anti-spam Compliance Unit.

Media contact:
Trevor Henry, senior communications adviser, Department of Internal Affairs
Ph 04 495 7211; cell 021 245 864