ANZ warns of rising money mule scams targeting young Kiwis

"Scammers are smart, they tap into our vulnerabilities," expert says

ANZ warns of rising money mule scams targeting young Kiwis

ANZ Bank New Zealand is sounding the alarm on a significant uptick in “money mule” scams, where people, often unknowingly, become conduits for transferring stolen money.

These scams, proliferating through social media and other digital platforms, have seen a worrying increase in involvement among youth.

Young Kiwis increasingly targeted

The bank reported a 20% rise in mule accounts among 17- to 24-year-olds and a 24% increase among 25- to 34-year-olds last year.

“Younger people spend a lot of time online and see others making money as influencers or buying and selling things,” said Craig Bruce (pictured above), who leads ANZ’s customer protection team.

“Earning money online is quite normalised and scammers are smart, they tap into our vulnerabilities. Tricking younger people with the promise of easy money is something we are starting to see.”

The dangers of involvement

Bruce warned of the serious repercussions of being involved in such scams, including frozen or closed accounts and potential police investigations.

“We want to get the message out there that there are very real consequences if you get caught up in one of these scams – particularly for the victims who are losing money to criminals,” he said.

“When New Zealanders allow their bank accounts to be used as mule accounts, they are enabling the criminals operating these scams and can become part of the international criminal networks operating simultaneously across multiple countries.”

Identifying and protecting against money mule scams

Fraudsters often contact potential money mules through social media, emails, or messaging apps, offering jobs that involve transferring money for a commission.

These job scams may masquerade as “account manager” positions, falsely promising easy earnings for transferring funds on behalf of an organisation.

Scammers might also exploit romantic connections online, requesting money transfers under the guise of account audits.

ANZ also dished out some prevention tips:

  • Never allow others access to your bank accounts or share banking details.
  • Be cautious of offers for quick money received online or in person; they could be scams targeting you as a money mule.
  • Conduct your research and remain sceptical of offers that seem too good to be true.
  • Refuse to sell access to your account or to process transactions for others.
  • Speak to family, friends, or the police if threatened or coerced into money transfers.
  • Contact your bank immediately if you suspect your account is being used for scam activities.

ANZ’s fraud prevention efforts

To combat these scams, ANZ employs a robust fraud monitoring system alongside a dedicated team of analysts and investigators.

Additionally, the launch of New Zealand’s National Anti-Scam Centre’s first phase aims to enhance coordination between banks to identify and mitigate fraudulent payments to mule accounts.

ANZ advises customers who have fallen victim to fraud or scams to immediately call 0800 269 296 (or +64 4 470 3142 for those abroad). For guidance on online safety and awareness of scams, visit

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