How to stay scam savvy and protect your business

22 April 2022

Over the past 12 months business scams have surged, with a significant increase in email scams. Westpac data shows the average loss for these is around four times higher than other scams, which can have a devasting impact on businesses and their customers.


According to Westpac, businesses are often targeted by Business Email Compromise (BEC) or false billing scams where scammers trick people into making payments by impersonating a business, employee, or supplier.

The Victorian Chamber is hosting a webinar in partnership with Westpac on 10 May to help business protect themselves against scams and fraud.

Hear from Ben Young, Westpac Group Head of Fraud and Shannon Brown, Digital Forensics Manager.

Mr Young has been intimately involved in Westpac’s fraud processes for the past 15 years and has worked in various data-led risk processes for 25 years. His team researches and operates the bank’s key fraud protection processes for about 25 million transactions each day.

Ms Brown has worked in Digital Forensics at Westpac for five years and previously worked in intelligence for the government. Her digital security team work to prevent internet fraud within online banking platforms, using Westpac’s real-time authentication technology to identify and detect emerging fraud and scam trends.

“Businesses are targeted as they manage a high volume of invoices and transact with multiple suppliers, customers and employees. Scammers may gain access to your system and falsify invoices or emails, using their own BSB and account details in place of yours,” Mr Young said.

“We use technology all the time now, and people are so familiar with it, they think they’re too savvy to be impacted by a scam. But being scammed doesn’t mean you’re gullible, it’s just so prevalent now. Scammers utilise many creative schemes of deception, so it’s vital to maintain a healthy level of suspicion.”

According to ACCC Scamwatch, the number of false billing scams almost doubled during the pandemic, with a 171 per cent increase in the amount lost.

Mr Brown explains scammers took advantage of pandemic lockdowns and the increased use of digital channels for day-to-day business operations.

“We’ve become so used to doing everything digitally and there are many benefits of that, but digital channels are vulnerable to scammers. The best way to protect your business is to pick up the phone and verbally verify, especially any requests to update account details or make an urgent payment.”

Top tips

Westpac’s top tips to stay ahead of the scammers include:

  • Always verbally confirm any requests for urgent or redirected payments
  • Register your business for PayID by using your ABN and request this is how your account is credited
  • Request to pay your suppliers using a PayID. PayID displays the registered payee name, so if it’s not your intended recipient you will know something is possibly suspicious
  • Use multifactor authentication and dual payment approvals where available
  • Train your employees regularly on how to spot scams. Empower them to question any payment related requests and verbally verify account details are correct, by setting this as a process to follow.

Webinar details

The Scam Savvy webinar will be held on 10 May from 11:00am-11:45am, covering the following areas:

  • High-level overview of the fraud and scam landscape
  • Current scam statistics, amounts lost and businesses/sectors at higher risk
  • Top scams currently impacting businesses, including how to spot them
  • Tips and tricks to make sure your business is scam savvy.

For more information and to register for this free webinar, click here.

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