Unsurprisingly a recent report released by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has noted an uptick in the number of scams targeting Australian Small Business Owners. Australians lost $132 million to business email compromise scams in 2019 alone, with that figure tipped to rise in 2020 as scammers often ramp up activities during periods of economic instability.
Why SME’s are more susceptible.
One of the main reasons that scammers chose to target SME’s is they generally have fewer resources devoted to their business’s security than large corporations. With the average loss from business scams being reported at $11,000, and scaling up to $200,000, it pays to educate your staff on what to look out for and how to avoid scams in the first place.
What to look out for.
By dealing with SME’s every day, and being one ourselves, we understand just how hard SME owners work and we hate to think about business owners being scammed out of their earnings by these criminals. According to the Government’s Scamwatch, there were nearly 6000 reports from businesses last year. The most common types of scams to be vigilant about are:
- False billing. Scammers electronically intercept legitimate invoices and change the details to their fraudulent payment information. Once you receive the invoice and pay it as normal, you may not realise you have been scammed.
- Impersonation. These types of scams caused the highest losses to SME’s in 2019. Business email compromise scams happen when a scammer impersonates someone of power in an organisations, such as the CEO, and email request a payment be made by staff for a variety of reasons, such as to purchase gift cards as a surprise for other staff.
- Online shopping scamming. This is where a scammer sets up an online shopping website and takes money for products ordered that never arrive.
How to minimise your chance of being caught out.
- Inform your staff members so they are aware of possible scamming dangers.
- Create a structured process for paying and verifying account that is followed by all accounts payable team members.
- Make sure anti-virus software is installed on all devices and it is regularly updated.
- Be mindful of what business information is posted on social media that could be used to target your business.
- Back up! Ensure your business data is regularly backed up and store backups offline and offsite.
For more information visit www.scamwatch.gov.au