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ACCC Advises Email Scams Are On The Rise

The ACCC is today advising businesses big and small to review their verifying and payment processes as Scamwatch states that reports of business email compromise (BEC) scams have grown by a third this year.

Reported losses due to these scams total $2.8 million in 2018. However, this figure represents only a fraction of the total losses to this variety of scam to businesses across Australia.

BEC scams can account for 63% of all business losses reported to Scamwatch. The average loss is roughly $30,000.

BEC scams happen when a hacker gains access to a business’s email accounts, then sends phoney emails to the business’ customers appearing to be from the company claiming that the business’ banking details have been updated and future invoices need to be paid to a new account.

Alternatively, an internal email being sent that appears to be from the CEO instructing funds to be transferred to another account, for example, salary or rental payments.

ACCC Deputy Chair, Delia Rickard stated, “It’s a scam that targets all kinds of businesses, including charities and local sporting clubs. There is a misconception these scams target just small business, however, the largest amount of reports and losses came from medium-sized businesses, including one that lost more than $300,000.”

In order to prevent financial losses, the ACCC suggests implementing a multi-person approval process for transactions over a certain dollar, ensure correct account information especially if there has been a change, up to date anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall.

Businesses affected by BEC scams are advised to contact their financial institution immediately and consider professional IT guidance to ensure their email systems and data are secure from threats of this kind.

Businesses can report scams to www.scamwatch.gov.auand Scamwatch radar alerts to keep up to date with the latest scams affecting the business community.

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