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Business scams

Small businesses can be targets for scammers.

Types of business scams

  • False billing – the business receives invoices created by scammers requesting payment. A scam invoice may look exactly like the invoices you pay regularly, only with a scammer’s bank details substituted in.
  • Payment redirection – either the computer system or email has been hacked for either party and the scammer has changed payment details (bank accounts) meaning payments are then redirected into the scammer’s bank account.
  • Business directory – the business receives a bill for a listing in a supposedly well-known directory. Scammers trick you into signing up by disguising the offer as an outstanding invoice or final demand, or a ‘free’ listing (with hidden subscription fees).

  • Domain name – scammers trick customers into paying them by using an internet domain registration that is very similar to your authentic business name. Alternatively you receive and pay a fake domain renewal notice.

  • Office supply – the business receives and pays for products they did not order. Scammers typically call you pretending a business service or product has already been ordered.

Tips to protect your business

  • Do not be pressured into making decisions on the spot. Always ask for more information and seek independent advice if you’re not sure.

  • Never provide your business’ banking, financial and accounting details to someone who contacts you unexpectedly.

  • Maintain effective management procedures. Have clear processes for verifying and paying business accounts and invoices; and for invoicing your customers. Train staff on scam prevention practices, such as not using public Wi-Fi to conduct financial transactions.

  • Beware of emails containing changes to payment details. Always verify by using a different method of communication, for example calling them to confirm the details if they have emailed them through.

  • To ensure you use authentic email addresses, avoid using the 'Reply' button. Instead select 'Forward' and either type in the correct email address or select it from your address book.

  • Back up your business data - offsite and offline. Ensure antivirus protection software is installed and updated.

For more information

The Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) have information about avoiding business scams, they can be contacted on 133 140.


Last updated August 2023