What to watch for


We have been made aware of individuals being contacted by someone purporting to be from the SFO asking for payment in order to recover the proceeds of a previously committed fraud. This is a scam. Do not deposit any money. Report the call at www.Netsafe.org.nz/report/ in the first instance.

Warning signs of fraud, bribery or corruption to look out for include:

  • Abnormal cash payments
  • Pressure exerted for payments to be made urgently or ahead of schedule
  • Payments being made through third party country, e.g. goods or services supplied to country 'A' but payment is being made, usually to a shell company, in country 'B'
  • Abnormally high commission percentage being paid to a particular agency. This may be split into two accounts for the same agent, often in different jurisdictions
  • Private meetings with public contractors or companies hoping to tender for contracts
  • Lavish gifts being received
  • An individual never takes time off for holidays, or when ill, or insists on dealing with specific contractors him/herself
  • Making unexpected or illogical decisions accepting projects or contracts
  • Unusually smooth process of cases where individual does not have the expected level of knowledge or expertise
  • Abusing decision process or delegated powers in specific cases
  • Agreeing to contracts that are not favourable to the organisation 
  • Unexplained preference for certain contractors during tendering period
  • Avoidance of independent checks on tendering or contracting processes
  • Raising barriers around specific roles or departments which are key in the tendering/contracting process
  • Bypassing normal tendering/contractors procedure
  • Invoices being agreed in excess of contract without reasonable cause
  • Missing documents or records regarding meetings or decisions
  • Company procedures or guidelines not being followed
  • Lack of detail in invoices
  • The payment of, or making funds available for high value expenses or school fees etc. on behalf of others
  • Isolation and complete responsibility without input/oversight from others in the workplace.

For those thinking of investing, some checks you can do:

  1. Confirm the existence of the investment via third a party;
  2. Consider whether the returns being offered are realistic;
  3. Be suspicious of investments with guaranteed returns or that are personally guaranteed by the promotor;
  4. Obtain evidence that your money has been invested according to your instructions.

These are not complete lists. If you suspect fraud, bribery or corruption, you should report it to the Serious Fraud Office.