Netsafe tackles $257m cyber crime problem, with AI weapon against scammers

Netsafe, New Zealand’s independent online safety organisation, is today announcing an innovative approach to fighting back against scammers; Re:scam

The  new  artificially  intelligent  (AI)  email  assistant  comes  at  a  critical  time  with cybercrime having  cost  New  Zealand  almost  $257m  in  the  past  year,  according  to industry body APWG. 

Given that 70 per cent of the New Zealand businesses that have experienced a cyberattack have fallen victim to an email scam, Re:scam has been designed specifically with phishing in mind. Re:scam works by occupying the time and resources of scammers through deploying a well-educated AI email assistant. Instead of junking or deleting a scam email, you can now forward it to Re:scam who will continue the conversation until the scammer stops replying. 

Re:scam’s powerful AI is capable of assuming multiple personas, engaging scammers in an ongoing exchange that wastes the time they otherwise could have spent targeting potential victims. It can imitate real human tendancies by using humour and making grammatical errors, all while collecting data that will help to bring down criminals by exposing their vulnerabilities. 

Over  a  year  in  development,  the  CEO  of  Netsafe,  Martin  Cocker,  is  excited  to  be launching another tool in the arsenal to take the fight to scammers. 

He says, “We are really concerned about the growth of predatory email phishing, while victims remain essentially powerless. We feel the scale of the problem far outweighs the attention it receives, and we want to empower people to take action. Re:scam provides them with the opportunity to do so.”

Prior to public launch, Netsafe’s Re:scam had already been successfully deployed to fight scammers during beta testing and is currently having thousands of conversations with real scammers saving Kiwis valuable time and money. 

With the main impact of cybercrime in New Zealand being time wasted, Re:scam is designed to be quick and easy for everyone to use – no matter who they are. Internet users who receive a phishing email can share the problem with Re:scam instantly by simply forwarding the spam email to, who can look back and review the exchange between the bot and scammer. 

“Everyone is susceptible to online phishing schemes and no matter how tech savvy you are, scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated,” says Martin. “Re:scam will adapt as the scammers adapt their techniques, collecting data that will help us to keep up and protect more and more people across New Zealand.”


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