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One in three Kiwis has been a target of fraud, and one person has admitted to losing more than $800,000, new research has revealed.
The Commission for Financial Capability is urging people to "stop, think and research' before they send any money or give out personal details after its survey found 33% had been actual or intended victims of scammers.
While just 16% of people reported a loss - nearly half (48%) lost more than $500 and one lost in excess of $800,000.
The scams ranged from emails, letters and phone calls to face-to-face meetings with fraudsters trying to obtain access to computers, bank accounts and other personal details.
Others tried on opportunity scams such as bogus lottery wins and previously unknown inheritances.
Bronwyn Groot, fraud education manager at the commission, said even very intelligent people could be duped.
"The scammers move fast and hit hard, looking for any sign of vulnerability. They are organised, constantly evolving and the only way they will stop is if we stop sending them our hard earned cash and private information."
Groot said by doing a simple Google search or getting in touch with your bank could save a whole lot of heartbreak and financial loss.
"When it comes to emails, phone calls, investment opportunities, lottery and inheritance wins - "Stop, think and research" before you send any money or give out your bank account details or personal information."
The research found two-thirds of those hit by a scam reported it to an authority, with 64% saying they felt annoyed and another 42% feeling angry.
The survey was undertaken as part of international fraud awareness week.