Don’t Get Scammed: Protect Your Business and Profits

Picture of Steven Nicholson
Steven Nicholson

August 4, 2023

Don’t lose cash from your business to scammers 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has just released its report, Targeting Scams 2022, in which it reported that Australian businesses lost $23.3m in scam losses across 2022 with Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) suffering most of these losses. 

$13.6m in total was scammed from businesses with less than 20 staff, split between small businesses (5-19 staff) losing $5.6m with the median loss of $4,559, and micro businesses (0-4 staff) losing $8m with a median loss of 3,350. That’s a significant loss to any small business owner. 

Whilst all types of scams recorded a rise in the number of cases reported, there was a massive 1174% increase false billing scams, where scammers compromise the business email, either through hacking or impersonating the business email (by changing one letter in the email address) and then altering bank account details on supplier invoices.  

As a small business owner, you need to be aware of the types of scams that could impact your business. The most common scams include: 

  • Phishing scams: These scams involve fraudulent emails, text messages, or phone calls that appear to be from a legitimate source, such as a bank or a vendor. The goal is to trick the recipient into providing sensitive information such as passwords or credit card numbers. 

  • Business email compromise: This scam involves a fraudster posing as a senior executive and requesting an immediate wire transfer or change of their personal bank account details for payroll.  

  • Fake invoice scams: Scammers send fake invoices to small businesses, hoping to trick them into paying for goods or services that were never received. 

  • Tech support scams: These scams involve fraudsters posing as tech support personnel and contacting small businesses to fix a supposed computer or software problem. They may ask for remote access to the computer or charge a fee for their services. 

  • Investment scams: Fraudsters may offer fake investment opportunities to small businesses, promising high returns for low risk. These scams often involve Ponzi schemes or other fraudulent investment schemes. 

  • Charity scams: These scams involve fraudsters soliciting donations from small businesses for a fake charity or a non-existent cause. 

Most small business owners are time poor and under-resourced when it comes to dealing with business admin. This can lead to missing important signs of fraudulent activity and not carrying out the extra check due to time constraints. Scammers know this all too well which is why small businesses are such a strong target for their activities.  

There are a number of things you can do though to protect your business from scammers: 

  • Educate yourself and stay up to date: Learn about the types of scams and frauds that commonly target small businesses. The more you know about these tactics, the better you can protect your business from falling victim to them. 

  • Keep your information secure: Make sure that sensitive information such as bank account numbers, passwords, and credit card information are kept confidential and only accessible to authorized personnel. You can do this by implementing strong password policies, using secure payment systems, and limiting access to sensitive information. 

  • Be cautious of unsolicited offers: If you receive an offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Always be cautious of unsolicited offers, especially those that require upfront payment or personal information. 

  • Verify before making payments: Before making any payments, verify the legitimacy of the vendor or service provider. Do your research and check their credentials, reviews, and ratings. 

  • Use a fraud detection system: Consider investing in a fraud detection system that can help monitor your financial transactions and detect any suspicious activities. 

  • Train your employees: Educate your employees on how to recognize and avoid scams and frauds. Provide regular training sessions and make sure everyone in the organization understands the importance of keeping financial information secure.  

If all this sounds like too much work on top of everything else that is going on in running your business, it’s time to think about outsourcing your financial admin to Retinue. Our team are highly trained in detecting and avoiding scams and in setting up best practice processes to guard against any attacks. These include: 

  • Setting up alerts in our accounting systems that notify if bank account details have been changed. 

  • Always calling suppliers to verify change of bank details rather than accepting email confirmation. 

  • Having appropriate authorisation sign offs for all invoices before payment. 

  • Segregation of duties between staff who process invoices and who make payments. 

In fact, we are so confident that our processes are strong enough to protect our clients’ businesses, we offer a service guarantee that we will indemnify against any financial loss a client suffers as a direct result of actions from our team.  

If you want peace of mind that your business is as protected as it can be from financial loss to scammers, reach out to our team today.  

Retinue’s payroll service includes the processing of hours and wages rates provided by you. We do not determine award rates for your employees or provide advice on the correct employment status of your employees. It is your responsibility to ensure that your employees are paid correctly and we recommend obtaining advice from specialised employment relations experts.

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