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‘Business email compromise’ scams on the rise

The Small Business Ombudsman has warned of an increase in ‘business email compromise’ scams, where scammers impersonate a company and contact its customers about "updated" payment details.

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“It is critical that awareness of some common scams be brought to the attention of the small and family businesses to mitigate their risk,” says the Australian Small Business & Family Enterprise Ombudsman.

“One such scam is called ‘business email compromise’, where the business may have their systems accessed by a criminal. Scammers then impersonate the business and contact their customers to provide ‘updated’ payment details. These customers then, may unknowingly make payments to the account controlled by the scammer. When this happens, it’s often very difficult for victims to get their money back.”

When you are paying someone follow these simple steps, the ASBFEO said:

For a new supplier, ask them directly for their BPay biller code, PayID, or ask to use e-invoicing.

For existing suppliers, only use the payment details stored in your records or system that you have confirmed in the past.

If you get a request to change payment details, call the supplier directly using the number from your records or the number from their website to verify the new details.

When you ask your customers for payment, ask them to pay using your PayID or BPay biller code wherever possible. This can help to make sure your customers are paying into only your account and avoiding these scams.

Finally, another way to protect your digital business online, is to turn on multi-factor authentication to protect your email account. This provides an extra layer of security to your email account to prevent unauthorised access.

Visit https://www.cyber.gov.au/mfa for more information, and more ways to protect your business.

From 8 to 12 November, it is Scams Awareness Week in Australia, with this year’s theme - “Let’s talk about Scams”. A range of organisations including the ACCC, Scamwatch and the Australian Cyber Security Centre are joining forces to provide consumers and businesses with practical tips and advice on what to do to protect themselves from becoming the target or victim of a scammer.

“One thing is for certain, scammers do not discriminate – we can all be victims,” Scamwatch said.