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Email Scams Devastating Australian Businesses

Australian businesses, sporting clubs and community groups lost more than $60 million in sophisticated email scams last year.

Small businesses were the most likely to be targeted, accounting for more than three quarters of the 5800 scams reported to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission.

Investment, hacking and phishing scams caused significant losses, but false billing scams, where hackers impersonate the intended payment recipients and request changes to bank account details, were the most prevalent among reported scams.

“Depending on how long the scammers get away with this and how large the transfers are, this scam can be devastating to a business’s bottom line – to the extent of forcing small and medium businesses into closure,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.

Any business transferring money via bank accounts can be targeted by the scam, with additional reports of house deposits sent to real estate agents and law firms also being intercepted.

Mr Keogh said businesses should have clear processes for verification of changes to bank account details and make sure employees are aware and capable of identifying scams.

The ACCC’s Small Business Information Network provides small business information and alerts on scams.

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