Whether they are being offered cheap iPads or millions of dollars, Nelsonians have been the target of a range of online scams.
Last week the Nelson Mail highlighted an elaborate scam involving a woman advertising a room on Trade Me.
A scammer pretended to be interested in moving into the house, and then used the woman's account details to transfer money from another man as a way of laundering the money.
Since then several readers have got in touch to detail their own experiences with scammers.
Nelson man Jason Downer said he lost $700 to a man who claimed to be selling a 64GB 3G iPad.
Mr Downer saw the product, being sold by a man who said his name was Jerry Longdale, on Facebook group "Nelson, NZ ... Buy Sell and Trade", a group set up for online auctions and sales, and contacted him via a private message.
Once he had deposited the money into a bank account, under the name "LA Williams", Mr Longdale said he would send the iPad the next day, but instead deactivated his account.
Although he had said he lived in Tauranga, a search for the bank account number said it was linked with a bank in Paraparaumu.
Mr Downer said he had contacted the police, who had opened an investigation into the scam.
Meanwhile, a retired clergyman, who did not want to be named, said he had been in email contact with a scammer who posed as a widow and offered him $15 million to set up a charity for the poor and indigent.
He had given her bank account details – to an account that was empty of funds – and information such as his mother's maiden name.
He only realised it was a scam after telling his lawyer about the emails, and since then had ceased all contact.
The whole experience had made him feel foolish, but he had learned a valuable lesson, he said.
"If something sounds too good to be true then it isn't true.
Commenting on the Nelson Mail story, "Kerry" and "Dee" said they had received a large number of telephone calls from scammers who asked them to "fix" their computer.
"Kerry" suggested someone had copied the voter roll and then created a list of which to use to telephone scam.
"Tony" suggested users kept a whistle by the phone.
Internet safety and risk assessment consultant John Parsons said scammers targeted people's weaknesses, whether greed or their sense of charity, and those that were taken in had nothing to be ashamed of.
Often people could not see where the scam was coming from, and so built up a rapport with the scammer until it was too late.
"The reason you see a lot of this is that it is successful."
Those who thought they may be the victim of a scam should cease all contact immediately and, if they have given away their account details, contact their bank.
Operating outside of auction sites like Trade Me meant there were none of the security and safeguards of the service, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News