How to identify and protect your business from scams

Top down shot of big busy corporate office

During the week of 8-12 November, Scamwatch is encouraging businesses and individuals to start conversations about scams as part of their annual Scam Awareness Week. To align with this year’s Scam Awareness Week theme of ‘Let’s talk scams’, we’re highlighting the most common scams we see here at TBTC Perth South, and discussing ways you can help protect your business from them.

All businesses can be vulnerable to scams, no matter the size. Keeping up to date with the latest scams and educating your team can help you spot and avoid them.

While many scams are obvious and easy to navigate around without any serious harm, some scams are more deceptive and seemingly fit right in with normal business operations. We’ve put together the top 5 scams to watch out for in your business. 

Let’s talk scams: top 5 common scams

Below are some of the most common scams, how to detect them, and the best ways to navigate around them. 

Scam 1: Phishing

Phishing scams generally begin with scammers sending links to realistic looking websites to steal your personal or business information, and then money. 

Victims receive a legitimate looking text message or email claiming to be from an reputable organisation like the government. These messages usually claim that that there’s an issue, and prompt users to click the link to fix it. The link then goes to what appears to be the organisation’s website where the victim provides information like banking, date of birth, tax file numbers, etc., to verify their identity. Scammers then sell or use this information to impersonate the victim, usually in an attempt to steal funds. 

Tip for your team: never click on any links or open attachments in emails claiming to be from your bank, the government or any other trusted organisation asking you to update or verify your identity. 

Scam 2: Bogus invoices

One of the most simple and blatant scam involves bogus invoices being sent to a business. Most businesses receive copious invoices each month, making it relatively easy for scammers to slip in a fake one. These invoices could be for things like advertising that never ran, memberships to non-existent trade organisations, or office supplies you didn’t order or receive. Scammers can even go to lengths to find out who your regular suppliers are to create invoices that look and sound similar to the legitimate ones you receive frequently. 

Tip for your team:  implement and follow a procedure for handling invoices, and ensure that employees are handling invoices by following official business procedure and questioning anything that strays from protocol. This can be further safeguarded by having accounting software and online banking that lists suppliers’ names and addresses so that suspicious invoices stand out. 

Scam 3: Business directories

This type of scheme involves scammers calling or emailing requesting to update your company’s information in an online or printed directory. Initially, this might seem harmless – but you could unknowingly be consenting for the scammers to bill you for a significant amount of money that’s been listed in fine print you never read.  

Tip for your team: never give company information to anyone over the phone or via email that you don’t normally engage with. Read all documents that are sent to you carefully before signing and returning them.

Scam 4: Rebate 

Rebate scams try to convince you that your business is entitled to a rebate or reimbursement form the government, a bank or a trusted organisation. 

Scammers may contact you by mail, telephone, email, text message or social media, claiming to be a trusted organisation. They might ask you to make a small payment to cover ‘administration fees’ or ‘taxes’ in order to claim the amount you are owed. If you hand over your money, you’re not likely to see it again. 

Tip for your team: verify the identity of contacts by calling the organisation they claim they are representing directly (don’t use the contact details provided in any messages sent to you). If you think it’s a scam, don’t respond. Governments or trusted companies will never contact you asking you to pay money upfront in order to claim a fee or rebate.

Scam 5: Remote access 

Remote access scams generally involve scammers convincing victims to give them control of their phone or computer. 

In these scams, you might be contacted via phone by a scammer impersonating tech support, fraud prevention or similar, explaining that your device or account is compromised and needs support to fix it. The scammer would then ask to remotely access your device. Once they have access, scammers can then access your banking/personal information, again using that information to impersonate you to commit identify theft or steal money. 

Tip for your team: never give an unsolicited caller remote access to your devices, even if they claim they are from your business’ tech support team. If you receive a call out of the blue about your computer and the caller asks for remote access, hang up.   

How TBTC Perth South can help

At TBTC Perth South, our security experts can help protect your business from scams. We take the time to understand your IT environment in order to help you identify potential vulnerabilities. Talk to us today to start planning and protecting. 

Ready to learn more? Let’s talk.

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