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Payment scam losses top $14 million: ACCC

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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) says businesses reported more than $14 million in losses due to payment redirection scams last year and average loss figures to date this year are tracking higher.

ACCC Scamwatch figures represent only a portion of total losses, with incidents reported to a range of different organisations.

“Payment redirection scams impact businesses across many industries, including real estate, construction, law, recruitment and universities,” ACCC Deputy Chairman Delia Rickard said.

“Scammers tend to target new or junior employees, or even volunteers, as they are less likely to be familiar with their employer’s finance processes or the types of requests to expect from their supervisors.”

The scams typically see money owed to a legitimate business sent to a fraudulent account due to impersonations or after invoices are intercepted and account details changed.

The ACCC cites a victim who lost $16,500 in a transaction after a scammer used a staff member’s email address to send an invoice to a customer with “updated bank details” that sent the payment to the scammer’s account.

Average losses so far this year are more than five times higher compared to the same period last year, the ACCC says.