Scam emails in Australia: Are they targeting your business?

Article by Karen Mortimore

 

Australian email scams are common and new scams are uncovered every day.

We receive regular enquiries from clients who receive ASIC, ATO or bank emails asking for personal information and payments. They ask us to confirm the authenticity of these emails.

But is your business at risk of email scams in Australia? Are you a prime target for the scammers? How can you avoid being the victim? And what steps should you be taking to protect your business?

Email scams Australia: How they work & the businesses they target

We’ve become aware of how certain small to medium businesses are directly targeted by scammers.

They infiltrate email servers and obtain the names and email signatures of directors and employees. Then they send out emails as if they are from these accounts.

There may only be a very subtle difference in the email scam addresses they create: perhaps a full stop inserted or missing an ‘au’ at the end of the email address. It appears to the unsuspecting naked eye that the email is from the usual sender.

Industries particularly at risk are those with large single transactions, such as progress claims for the building industry.

A close shave: One recent scam email that targeted a client of ours…

One client recently received an email apparently from their builder, who is currently constructing two large apartment complexes for them.

The email was sent to advise a change of bank account details. It appeared to be from the financial controller of the building company and attached was a letter signed by the director confirming that the bank details had changed.

The two progress claims that were imminent totalled $1,600,000.

SRJWW manages the payments to the builder and, given the large amounts involved, we made a call to the financial controller to confirm. The builder had not changed any banking arrangements.

All parties were shocked at the attempted fraud. The builder has since undertaken an IT security review. The consequences for both parties would have been dire.

The answer to your security concerns…

If you’re worried about becoming the victim of scam emails in Australia, the answer isn’t far away.

We’ve decided to introduce a client portal where we can share and save documents with you in a protected environment, instead of using email.

You will also have the option to electronically sign documents and return without the need to print, sign, scan, and return.

Some safety features of the client portal include:

  • All data is highly encrypted in transit to and from the portal
  • Data is backed up and stored across multiple geographical locations
  • The portal is secured behind multiple firewalls
  • Every action that occurs within the portal is logged and recorded against the individual who performed it, providing a complete and compliant audit log
  • The portal website is safe for browsing as it is scanned daily for malware

We’ll be in touch with you directly to discuss setting this up but, in the meantime, if you have any questions about scam emails, contact us here.