Cyber scams are becoming an increasing concern for small businesses, as fraudsters try to steal money by tricking companies into sending them payments. One of the most common scams is the business email compromise, where cybercriminals send fraudulent emails posing as a legitimate business contact or staff member. In these cases, the scammers typically request a change in bank account details for a deposit, wages or invoice payment, and the victims then unknowingly send money to the cybercriminals.
To make their emails seem more legitimate, cybercriminals may use email addresses that are similar to legitimate company names. They may also use email addresses that have been hacked, so that they can send emails from what appears to be a trustworthy source. This can make it very difficult for small businesses to distinguish between a legitimate email and a fake one.
The ATO has provided several tips to help businesses protect themselves from cyber scams:
- Verify payment details: If you hold sensitive financial records, it’s essential to confirm the identity of anyone who requests changes to their information. This could mean calling the person who sent the email or checking the email header to see if it has been sent from a trusted source.
- Alert your staff: Train your employees to identify suspicious requests or emails that may link to fake websites built to capture passwords. This can help prevent your business from falling victim to scams and reduce the risk of cyber criminals stealing sensitive information.
- Secure your email account: Use multi-factor authentication or, if this is not possible, a strong unique passphrase that would be difficult to hack. This can help prevent cybercriminals from accessing your email account and sending fraudulent emails on your behalf.
In addition to business email compromise scams, taxpayers also need to be wary of scammers who impersonate ATO officers on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. These scammers scan public conversations on social media, where taxpayers ask questions or make complaints about the ATO. The scammers then use a fake ATO profile to contact the taxpayer directly with an offer to help resolve a complaint or follow up on a comment. Once trust is established, the scammers then ask the taxpayer to click on a link or provide personal details.
The ATO is working with social media platforms and other government agencies to address this problem, but it’s essential for businesses to be vigilant and protect themselves from these scams. By being aware of the risks and taking simple steps to secure your business, you can protect your business from cyber scams and keep your finances safe.
Tip! Protect your business from cyber scams by staying vigilant and taking proactive steps. If you need help securing your email account or want to learn more about how to protect your business, reach out to us at Hodkinson Accounting, or if you need IT assistance, IT Solutions NQ (https://www.itsnq.com.au/) is a trusted partner that can help you keep your business secure.