With financial scammers getting more brazen and sophisticated it is crucial that you along with everyone in your business understands the risks and how to avoid becoming a victim.
It is paramount that you review your procedures with all those who are responsible for dealing with electronic transfers within your business to ensure you have the right checks and balances in place before processing any payments. Two of the most common scams are very simple however can easily catch out unsuspecting businesses.
The first scam is where your business is issued with fake invoices from service providers such as directory listings, advertising, domain name renewals or office supplies that you did not order. We have even seen fake invoices sent on behalf of Government bodies such as ASIC and the ATO. The second scam that is becoming more prevalent is where the scammers send an email impersonating senior management or those responsible for approving payments to the individual responsible for processing the payments requesting an urgent transfer to be made. The scammer will copy the email signature, typical language, embedded name in the email address which exactly replicates their digital identity making it seem legitimate to the recipient. The transfer request is usually to an offshore bank account adding complexity to having the funds recovered.
In addition there is also an increase in the ‘fake tax debt’ scam involving the impersonation of ATO representatives along with tax agents. Should the ATO ever contact you directly they will never demand immediate payment, threaten you with arrest or request payment by unusual means such as iTunes vouchers, store gift cards or Bitcoin cryptocurrency. Also be wary of random, unsolicited contact from the ATO. I strongly suggest that should the ATO contact you directly that you instruct them to deal directly with your tax agent to ensure legitimacy.
I recommend sitting down with your team as a priority to run through your processes and to make sure they are aware of the intricate scams being used. Prevention is certainly better than cure. I strongly recommend checking your insurance policies to ensure you have the appropriate cover should your business fall prey to these fraudsters. Furthermore, speak with your insurance broker about cyber insurance and enquire what protection is available to mitigate the financial risks.
For detailed information about the scams, how to protect yourself and your business and what to do should you fall victim to these criminals, refer to the following Government sites:
If we can assist in any way please do not hesitate to get in touch.