SBDC e-news – September 2016 Scam alert

Avoid being the ‘man in the middle’ 

Western Australian businesses and organisations are being warned about ‘man in the middle’ scams.

According to the Department of Commerce, fraudsters posing as CEOs or third-party suppliers have cost Western Australian businesses and not-for-profits at least $500,000 in the last two years.

The scams are very sophisticated and start by hacking a CEO’s or senior leader’s email account, with orders then given for a subordinate to transfer money to a nominated bank account. The fraudster will give a plausible reason and a believable account holder name but the account number directs the funds to that of the imposter or their associates.

The scam can also involve ‘phishing’ phone calls and emails to seek out information about who works in the finance area of an organisation, and arrangements with goods and services providers. The imposters pretend to be a third party supplier, often via fake email invoices, and provide new bank account details for payment of money owed.

Businesses are being warned to be on the alert for these scams and to be aware that offenders also use emails with links or attachments embedded that contain ‘spyware’ to gather knowledge of the business.

Don’t be a victim. Ensure all your business processes around money transfers are robust and that all requests to do so are thoroughly verified before actioning payments to a supplier. More information is available from the Department of Commerce.