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Customs warns of scam text messages in circulation

03.55pm 15 November 2021 | News

Customs is warning New Zealanders of a text message scam that is currently circulating, urging them not to fall prey.

There are variations of text messages asking receivers to pay Customs charges for parcels coming into New Zealand, with a link included. Customs confirms it will never send customers text messages asking them to pay duty.

In one example, a text reads “We have attempted to deliver your package but there is an unpaid Customs charge”, then provides a link.

Another variation reads: “Customs Duty is still pending.  Please solve the problem or we will send your order back to the sender address”, then provides a link.

Customs Chief Security Officer and Deputy Chief Executive International & Governance, Jamie Bamford, says it’s extremely important to remain vigilant. If you receive a text like this, please report and then delete it.

“Customs will never text people to inform them that they owe charges. If you receive a text along such lines, please report it to the Department of Internal Affairs by forwarding it to 7726, then delete the scam message.

“We are concerned these scammers are taking advantage of the increase in online shopping because of COVID-19 and the build-up to Christmas. As soon as you see a message like this, please remember Customs does not text!”

Online scams and fraud cost New Zealanders millions every year and the majority of these scams are connected to fake sites, investment and relationship fraud.