20 Apr 2018

Digital minister caught in social media scam

12:52 pm on 20 April 2018

A government minister suspects her identity was used in a Facebook scam and is urging people to look out for any suspicious activity on their accounts.

Minister for Broadcasting, Clare Curran answers questions from journalists

Minister for Broadcasting, Clare Curran answers questions from journalists Photo: VNP / Phil Smith

The Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Clare Curran said a fake Facebook account surfaced this week using her identity.

"People who were my Facebook friends started getting messages from me asking for me to friend them. I found out about this because people kept contacting me, ringing me up or sending me emails to say, 'Is this real?' And I realised I had a problem," Ms Curran said.

Fake Facebook accounts were a common online scam used to gather personal or financial information, Ms Curran said.

Ms Curran reported the issue to organisation Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT NZ), and on its advice changed her password and upgraded her security.

"It wasn't a direct hack of my Facebook account, but you can't be too careful," Ms Curran said.

"I am a bit sensitive to these things now that I've got responsibilities as digital minister and responsible for cyber security. But I think every New Zealander who has an online presence has vulnerabilities and should regularly change their password," Ms Curran said.

Ms Curran said anyone who noticed suspicious activity should contact CERT NZ.