A new campaign to help Pacific Islanders send and receive remittances safely and reduce the risk of online fraud has launched today. The "Get Safe Online Pacific" guidance provides essential tips and information for people across the Pacific to help make sure their experience of sending or receiving money overseas is successful, safe and economical. Sending and receiving remittances to and from Pacific Island countries has become hugely important to the very survival of island nations throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the World Bank, in 2017 alone nearly 20 percent of Tonga’s GDP came from remittances. The same year, people in Fiji received over FJ$500 million from overseas family members, which was over 6 percent of its national GDP, based on Reserve Bank of Fiji figures. Worldwide, over US$689 billion was transferred as remittances in 2018. To help Pacific Islanders and the diaspora in New Zealand understand the risks associated with remitting money, the campaign will highlight ways online theft can occur and provide a simple set of ‘dos and don’ts’ for safe transfers. It will also help people find out which operators they can use safely to send and receive money overseas.
“These payments can help families buy essentials, pay for accommodation and maintain their very standard of living,” said Peter Davies, Global Ambassador for Get Safe Online.
“It could also help people deal with emergencies or settle overdue bills. Remittances also make a substantial contribution to the very economy of Pacific Island countries. The Get Safe Online Pacific remittances campaign helps ensure that more of the remittances get into the pockets of those who need it most, rather than to those who are trying to steal them", he added. Get Safe Online Pacific has been launched with support from the British High Commission in New Zealand and the UK’s Foreign,Commonwealth and Development Office. Deputy BritishHigh Commissioner Sam Pass said. “The Covid-19 pandemic has brought huge challenges for us all, and we know how much Pacific communities have relied on being able to send and receive money overseas. I’m really pleased we’ve been able to work with Get Safe Online to produce this helpful and practical guidance to tackle fraud, keep people safe and get remittances flowing.”
The Get Safe Online Pacific campaign highlights typical ways that online theft can occur, such as by being tricked via email, text, direct message, social post or in person, or by a fraudster posing as a remittance service.
Another way is by inadvertently allowing a scammer to gain access to your bank account or online remittance service in order to steal your funds by withdrawing money or making payments that you have not authorized.
These are only some of the many "do’s and don’ts" that the Get Safe Online Pacific campaign highlights in its efforts to inform and caution people throughout the Pacific. These tips will be provided in simple, clear language via social media, and through online flyers which will be available in English, Kiribati, i-Taukei, Tok Pisin (PNG), Solomon Pijin, Bislama (Vanuatu), Samoan and Tongan. The campaign will also utilise radio and TV talkback shows.
The Get Safe Online Pacific remittances campaign will also help people find out which operators they can use safely to send and receive money overseas. Detailed information is featured on each of Get Safe Online’s nine Pacific island country websites, as well as the useful link www.sendmoneypacific.org, which is a website set up through the joint New Zealand/Australian Government-led initiative "Reducing the Cost of Remittances to the Pacific."
During the economic crisis brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, remittances provide an even more important lifeline for Pacific Island families.