Scammers fleeced Australian businesses out of nearly $340 million in 2017

Brad Buzzard 28 May 2018 NEWS

Phishing, identity theft and false billing scams accounted for a total of more than 55,000 scams.

Scammers fleeced Australian businesses out of nearly $340 million in 2017 according to the ACCC's Targeting Scams report. This represents a 23% increase over the previous year.

However, not all of these scams had devastating financial consequences. In fact, the three scams reported most often were also among those that were the least damaging. Phishing, identity theft and false billing scams accounted for a total of more than 55,000 scams reported to the ACCC, but they generated less than $4 million for the scammers. Part of the reason is that only 0.8%, 1.8% and 5.5% of these scams were successful, respectively.

On the other end of the spectrum, investment scams hit businesses' pocketbooks much harder. Businesses reported only around 2,000 investment scams to the ACCC. However, 29% of them were successful, allowing scammers to walk away with $31 million. This represents a massive 33% increase over similar losses in 2016.

An investment scam involves someone offering bogus financial opportunities that promise quick returns. Scammers can be quite sophisticated at carrying out such scams, often developing legitimate-looking marketing materials to lure victims in.

“Scammers don’t discriminate, and businesses have what scammers want: money. They’ll use a variety of cons to swindle busy workers and it can be very devastating to a business’s bottom line,” ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said in a statement.

Businesses who want to protect themselves against scams can visit the ACCC's Scamwatch website, where they can learn how to recognize common scams currently being perpetrated on unsuspecting businesses. They can also subscribe to Scamwatch alerts to receive up-to-date scam warnings.

They should also consider business insurance that would protect them should they ever be scammed.

“It’s vital Australian businesses are aware that scammers are actively out there targeting them and to ensure they have strong processes in place to avoid becoming victims,” Dr Schaper said.

Business insurance feed

Picture: Shutterstock

Get more from Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Ask a question
Go to site