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05/13/2013

News / Australian businesses defrauded of $20,000 with fake invoices

At least three Australian businesses lost AUS$20,000 (US$20,000) after scammers intercepted their e-mails and changed their bank account information. Unsuspecting businesses paid on the invoices they received without realizing that the funds were not going to their regular suppliers, but were instead being transferred to the fraudsters.

All three businesses are based in the state of Western Australia. The local Consumer Protection agency issued an urgent warning on the matter last week.

“It would appear the businesses affected have had their computers or email accounts hacked, allowing the interception to occur and the fake invoices to be sent in place of the real invoices,” Consumer Protection Commissioner Anne Driscoll was quoted by WAtoday as saying.

The fake invoices were sent from bogus e-mail addresses which resembled the e-mail addresses of the targeted businesses. The scam only came to light when the suppliers started chasing up the businesses about their unpaid invoices.

Driscoll urged business to be vigilant about this type of fraud.

“Don't rely on contact information contained in the suspect invoice as these may also be fake,” she noted.
Driscoll also suggested some safeguards businesses could introduce to independently verify any changes to their bank account information.
“Sending a confirmation of any changes to the supplier's original email address on file, or calling them on known phone numbers, can alert them that fraudsters may be trying to intercept the payments,” she said.


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