Protect Your Business from False Billing Scams

Posted on: January 2nd, 2020

According to the ACCC’s Scamwatch, Australian businesses lost nearly $9 million to false billing scams in 2019. False billing scams are on the rise, rising from $5 million in 2018. But what are false billing scams, and how can you protect your business?

What are false billing scams?

False billing scams request your business pay fake invoices for goods or services. Scammers can replicate legitimate communications and invoices by hacking into email accounts. They will include order numbers and reasonable amounts.

The most common false billing scams include:

  • Fake directories or advertising – fake directory invitations consist of forms to be completed, asking for signature approval for free entry. They are disguised invoices or contracts, with an amount hidden in small print. Alternatively, the scammer will ask you to confirm payment details for an advertisement that has supposedly already been booked. Often these scams will quote genuine ads that your business has had through different companies, platforms or directories.
  • Domain name renewal scams – these may be sent an invoice requesting payment for a domain name that is very similar to yours – the scammer hopes that you do not notice that it shows ‘.com’ instead of ‘.com.au’.
  • Payment redirection scams – the scammer will hack your systems and pose as one of your regular suppliers, often stating that their bank details have recently changed. These will be branded as a legitimate supplier, using stolen letterheads and logos.
  • Office supply scams

How to protect your business

  • Cross-check invoices against purchase orders – it will quickly become apparent that order numbers and amounts are incorrect on false bills.
  • Call suppliers to confirm changes – a simple phone call can prevent money from being lost. If you receive a notice that bank account details have changed, the best option is to contact the client or business to confirm this change.
  • Limit the number of people within the business that are authorised to make orders and payments.
  • Automated accounts payable solution – an automated solution will pick up fake invoices by automatically checking information against your database.

To report a scam or find out more about protecting your business, head to the Scamwatch website


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