Scams and warnings

From time-to-time the Commission will issue a media release warning consumers about a scam or potential scam. You will find these all here.

Corporate Portal New Zealand letters circulating again

The Commission has become aware that the Corporate Portal is targeting small business owners with unsolicited letters again after issuing a warning in August 2015.  

Business owners have been approached by post to update their details with the Corporate Portal and have reported being misled into entering an ongoing subscription contract. The letter urges businesses to complete their basic details by a deadline date or they will be removed from the Corporate Portal website. Once the business is signed up, the terms and conditions make it difficult to cancel, and the Corporate Portal says it reserves the right to increase the annual fee with no consultation.

More information can be found in our original media release.

The Companies Office in New Zealand (part of MBIE) has no connection with the Corporate Portal.

Warnings for trade mark holders

The Commerce Commission continues to receive reports from business owners who have been contacted by overseas companies providing trade mark publishing or registration services.

In the cases we have seen, businesses have received an unsolicited letter containing details of their registered trade mark and when it is due to expire taken from the New Zealand Intellectual Property Office (IPONZ). The letters generally provide a payment amount and details of how that payment can be made. Read more.

Online scam targets businesses selling machinery overseas – September 2016

The Commission is alerting small businesses to be careful of large goods orders where the buyer located overseas insists that a specific shipping company is used and shipping costs are pre-paid. In one instance that came to the attention of the Commission, a company was asked to pay shipping costs such as customs duty, insurance and taxes on the customer's behalf. However, the machine purchases were never fulfilled and the money they sent for shipping costs was unretrievable. 

The creation of fake shipping companies to issue pro-forma invoices is a strategy we have observed in the past. For example Direct Cargo Ltd is one name used for a shipping company in one of these scams. Consumers lost large deposits and paid imaginary insurance fees to release cars into their possession which the ‘seller’ never owned. Read more.

Commission recoups money for NZ trade mark holders – May 2016

The Commission has reached an interim agreement with TM Publisher, an overseas company who sent invoices for unsolicited services to New Zealand trade mark holders.

Under the interim court enforceable undertakings TM Publisher has agreed that anyone who paid the invoice from 6 April 2016 will be refunded directly by ANZ bank. TM Publisher’s bank account was frozen in March 2016. It contained over $200,000 in payments from New Zealand businesses. Read more here.

Online scams relating to buying vehicles and machinery – December 2015

The Commission reminds consumers to be careful and do their due diligence before transferring money overseas for the purchase of vehicles and machinery. There are reports of New Zealander’s losing large cash deposits or advancing cash for customs and/or insurance fees which do not exist. Read more

Direct Cargo Ltd is one name used for a shipping company in one of these scams. Consumers lost large deposits and paid imaginary insurance fees to release cars into their possession which the ‘seller’ never owned. Consumers should thoroughly research these ‘vehicle shipping companies’ before transferring any money to them. Read more.

Commission warns public about Blazing Whale and November Rain travel scratchie scams

The Commerce Commission is warning the public to be wary of two travel scratchie scams being run from Malaysia and appearing in New Zealanders’ mail boxes. The scratchies being distributed by Blazing Whale Travel and November Rain Travel are the latest iterations of this on-going scam.

Read more

Commerce Commission supports Fraud Awareness Week – November 2015

The Commission is reminding New Zealand small businesses to remain vigilant about avoiding scams as it supports Fraud Awareness Week, which runs until Saturday.

Read more

Small businesses hit by costly Global Map Index directory service – November 2015

The Commerce Commission is warning New Zealand businesses to be wary of unsolicited mail which asks them to update their company details after receiving complaints about a trader called Global Map Index.

Read more

Small businesses targeted by Corporate Portal invoicing scam – August 2015

The Commerce Commission is warning New Zealand small business owners of an invoicing scam undertaken through the post by a German company which operates a website called Corporate Portal New Zealand.

Read more

Beware of website offering government grants and funding to businesses – June 2015

The Commerce Commission is warning start-up and small businesses to beware of an organisation called New Zealand Small Business Assistance Centre (NZSBAC) that is offering access to government grants.

Read more

Commission issues penny-auction website warning – DealSave – February 2014

The Commerce Commission is warning consumers to be aware of the penny-auction website DealSave (, as it has concerns about the site which runs auctions for electronic items such as cameras, tablets, phones and televisions.

Read more


Read more information on scams and how to avoid them 

Contact the Commission if you have any concerns about a scam or potential scam.