I don’t think I was ripped off during ‘Fraud Awareness Week’ – no more than usual anyway.
It is possible I was overcharged for a bottle of wine at the local supermarket and several items purchased on special at K-mart may have been scanned in at the original price. The matters are under investigation with a full report expected to be published some time next year.
The insidious practice of mis-pricing on barcodes was highlighted in this TV3 story and it was a good little yarn – no doubt stolen from some other media outlet or pre-digested in a press release. Whatever, it was useful consumer information.
Perhaps these issues do not fall under the auspices of ‘Fraud Awareness Week’ but they should.
It’s more likely that New Zealanders are having cash unfairly siphoned off them during these mundane, quasi-legitimate economic interactions than from any get-rich-quick, Nigerian inheritance scam. And, to be frank, if anybody is still sending cash to the Nigerians, I reckon the Nigerians deserve it.
But, according to the Consumer Affairs website, just about “everyone has been the target of a scam at some stage in their lives, and many people have repeated, ongoing exposure to scam attempts.
“Overseas research suggests that one in ten people have lost money to scammers, with an average loss of over $2000- each!”
Not me. I’m aware of fraud. No thanks to ‘Fraud Awareness Week’, though – I don’t think it was very well promoted. I only stumbled upon news of the ‘awareness’ campaign a week after the celebrations had ended in this Commerce Commission press release.
Adrian Sparrow, Commerce Commission director of fair trading, informed me that the campaign was “an initiative to raise New Zealander’s awareness of the dangers of fraud and scams and to inform consumers about how they can protect themselves.
“Consumers should remember the golden rule – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
But that word ‘probably’ is a big enough loophole to fool some of the people most of the time, how else can you explain Bernie Madoff (see this NY Times blog for an answer).
Or ask Bridgecorp investors who this week were told they would get back even less than previously thought despite the $150,000 raised from the sale of Rod Petricevic’s Porsche.
Unfortunately, Madoff was not available for “Fraud Awareness Week’ promotional purposes.