In 2021, $81.45 million was lost in Australia because of false billing scams. Scams are constantly evolving and our growing use and reliance on technology provides scammers more opportunities to trick you into giving away your hard-earned money and valuable personal information.
There has been a rise of invoice scams in the recent couple of months, both locally and abroad.
The main scenario is where an invoice is sent via email from a supplier to their customer and is intercepted along the way by the scammer. The payment details are then changed which results in the customer paying the scammer rather than the supplier.
There are some red flags and handy tips that you can be aware of to help protect yourself:
- If you have paid someone before and go to pay them again and the BSB and/or Account Number is different, please ring the supplier on a trusted phone number to confirm this verbally before proceeding.
- If you receive an email or invoice which says the supplier has changed their account details, always ring the business on a known and trusted phone number to confirm.
- Be careful with one-off purchases (i.e. machinery) and invoices sent via email — again, ring the business and check the account information.
- Be sceptical of pushy requests for payment via email.
- Never click on links contained within text messages, if you think it is illegitimate ring your bank first.
- Don’t allow anyone to access your computer (remotely or physically) — especially your online banking. If you receive a phone call out of the blue about your computer and remote access is requested — hang up immediately!
- Ensure you have a premium version of computer virus protection. There are a couple of local businesses who can help you get this sorted if you feel like your computer protection may not be up to scratch.
- Be aware of emails or text messages that do not address you by your proper name, contain poor grammatical errors or that come from an unrecognised email address or phone number.
What should you do if you have been affected by a scam?
- Contact your Bank.
- Report to ScamWatch — https://www.scamwatch.gov.au/report-a-scam
- If you have lost personal information and are concerned your identity may be compromised, please contact IDCARE on 1800 595 160 or visit their website (www.idcare.org)