International research indicates people in New Zealand lose about $450 million per year to online scammers. One person lost more than $250,000.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs says investment scams obtain the most money, followed by dating and romance scams.
Romance scams are just the sixth most-reported hoax, but the ministry believes it is very under-reported because people are embarrassed about being caught out.
The ministry says the most complained-about scam is a hoax in which people call a New Zealand resident and say a virus has been detected on their computer.