Email scammers turning to te reo

MARIKA HILL
Last updated 05:00 19/01/2014

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Scammers are using te reo to target Maori in a new spin on an old scam - well, old for the internet.

A dubious businessman generously offers a split of $22 million from a deceased customer's bank account, in the email circulating New Zealand inboxes.

In this case the badly translated scam was probably created by using Google, which recently added te reo to its translation services.

NetSafe executive director Martin Cocker said this is the first he had heard of te reo being used by scammers.

"Every time you add some localisation or personalisation to a scam it finds a new audience for the scam. People might be surprised international scammers would use te reo."

The latest email is a sign of the sophistication of the tools online, he said.

"Scammers are sitting there with access to a PC and the same tools as us. When somebody creates a tool like this, which has a positive aspect, people unfortunately find a way to use it for crime."

Kiwi blogger Robyn Gallagher posted the scam email online after her father was targeted.

"It's interesting that te reo has made it on to the radar of the international scammers," she wrote on her blog.

She doubted Maori would fall for such a ploy.

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- Sunday Star Times

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