Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 23 June 2020 11:06

Australian businesses lose $132 million to email scammers Featured

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Business email compromise scams cost Australian businesses $132 million in losses in 2019, causing the highest losses across all scam types for the year.

According to the ACCC’s Targeting Scams report, small and micro businesses reported more scams than medium and large-sized businesses.

“These combined losses from the ACCC, other government agencies and the big four banks show how financially harmful these scams can be,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

“Scammers intercept legitimate invoices and change the details to include fraudulent payment information. The recipient will pay the invoice as normal and not realise they have been scammed.”

“Another technique used by scammers is to impersonate the CEO of a company and request staff transfer funds to them for a variety of reasons, such as to purchase gift cards as a surprise for other staff.”

Keogh said that Scamwatch alone received almost 6,000 reports from businesses last year with $5.3 million in reported losses, with false billing the most commonly reported type of scam, which includes business email compromise scams.

Other scams reported by businesses include online shopping scams where the business attempts to buy equipment online and the product never arrives.

“It is important for businesses and their staff to know that these scams are out there so they can learn how to avoid them,” Keogh said.

Keogh said that small and micro businesses reported more scams than medium and large-sized businesses, and the average loss was $11,000, but with some businesses losing up to $200,000.

“Scammers are increasingly using email scams to target businesses of all sizes. It is important to have strong processes in place for verifying and paying accounts and businesses should ensure their systems have up-to-date anti-virus software,” Keogh said.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired and is a "volunteer" writer for iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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