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Scammers are impersonating business and their employees


By April Murphy

Australia’s Scamwatch is urging residents to be alert of payment redirection scams sent to a fraudulent account.

Scammers impersonate a business or its employees via email and request a certain amount of money, usually owed to the legitimate business.

Australian businesses reported over $14 million in losses to Scamwatch due to payment redirection scams last year. The average losses so far in 2021 are more than five times higher than average losses in the same period the previous year.

“Payment redirection scams impact businesses across many industries, including real estate, construction, law, recruitment, and universities,” says ACCC Deputy Chair Delia Rickard.

The ACCC recommends organisations ensure their staff are well trained in the company’s payment processes and remain aware of payment redirection scams.

Payment redirection scams can take several different forms. In some instances, scammers hack into a legitimate email account. They pose as the business by intercepting legitimate invoices and amending the bank details before releasing emails to the intended recipients.

“An increasing number of reports are coming from sports and community clubs which reported more than $55,000 in losses to payment redirection scams last year. It is likely we will see similar figures this year, with $18,000 already reported lost so far in 2021,” Ms Rickard said.

Scammers are also using the spread of COVID-19 to take advantage of people across Australia.

Scamwatch has received over 6120 scam reports referent to the pandemic with more than $8 400,000 in reported losses since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Common scams include phishing for personal information, online shopping, and superannuation scams.

The ACCC urges everyone to be cautious and remain alert to coronavirus-related scams. Scammers are hoping that you have let your guard down. Do not provide your personal, banking or superannuation details to strangers who have approached you.

The Scamwatch website is a reliable source to find the latest scams and report fraud or helpful hints on what to do if you fall victim to a scam.

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