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WA businesses lose money in fake invoice sting

Three WA businesses have lost a total of $20,000 from a fake invoice sting, prompting an urgent warning from Consumer Protection.

The businesses have reported that invoices to their clients have been intercepted and bank accounts changed, with the funds being directed into accounts set up by fraudsters. The fake invoices were sent from bogus email addresses closely resembling the legitimate addresses of the businesses targeted.scam-invoice

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said the fraud only came to light recently when the suppliers were chasing up unpaid invoices.

“It would appear the businesses affected have had their computers or email accounts hacked, allowing the interception to occur and the fake invoices to be sent in place of the real invoices,” Ms Driscoll said.

“We urge businesses in WA to be on the alert for this type of fraud. The important safeguard is to establish anti-fraud measures that independently double check if a regular supplier provides different bank account details for the payment of invoices.

“Sending a confirmation of any changes to the supplier’s original email address on file, or calling them on known phone numbers, can alert them that fraudsters may be trying to intercept the payments. Don’t rely on contact information contained in the suspect invoice as these may also be fake.

“Accounts staff should consider having a list of designated single points of contact with businesses to whom they make regular payments, so changes can be verified easily and quickly, and any fraud attempts can be detected before payments are made.”

Businesses which may be victims of this type of fraud can contact WA ScamNet at Consumer Protection by calling 1300 30 40 54 or emailing: scamquery@commerce.wa.gov.au.