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Police Warn Millions Could Be Stolen By Online Fraudsters

The Australian Federal Police is urging businesses and staff working from home to be alert to the threat of Business Email Compromise (BEC) which has cost Australians more than $79 million in the past 12 months.

BEC is a fraud technique used by offenders to redirect legitimate fund transfers to fraudulent accounts.

The AFP said scammers intercept legitimate emails or invoices from known transaction partners and change banking details to redirect payments to the accounts.

The criminals rely on victims unsuspectingly transferring funds to the fake accounts which often goes unnoticed until the legitimate recipient enquires about the missing payment.

The AFP said it had managed to recover $8.45 million from BEC frauds during the last financial year.

Anyone concerned they have been victim of a BEC has been urged to contact NSW Police via Report Cyber, who then notify the AFP to intercept the transferred funds.

Over the past twelve months, more than 3,300 incidents of BEC have been reported to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) through its Report Cyber portal, with nearly half of those scams resulting in financial loss.

The BEC taskforce is co-ordinated by the AFP’s Cybercrime Operations and includes state and territory law enforcement, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission, ACSC and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre.

“If you are transferring money online do your due diligence, ensure you are comfortable that you are sending the money to the correct person and account,” said Chris Goldsmid, AFP Commander Cybercrime Operations.

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