Email scams on the rise targeting Aussie businesses
Westpac is urging customers to set up PayID to combat scammers
9 November 2021
Scammers are continuing to take advantage of Australians during the pandemic, with new Westpac data today revealing a 57 per cent increase in email scams targeting business customers over the last year.
Business email scams occur when fraudsters trick unsuspecting victims into sending money by impersonating a business, employee, or supplier. Often businesses are most affected, however these scams can impact anyone throughout the supply chain – for example, by intercepting emails and sending false invoices for goods or services someone is expecting.
Westpac Head of Fraud, Ben Young, said in the past year, business customers lost an average $4.4m in total each month to email scams.
“Businesses are often targeted because they manage large invoices and transact with lots of different suppliers, customers and employees,” explained Mr Young.
“This means the impact of these scams are unfortunately significant, affecting both the person sending the money as well as the business or customer that was rightfully owed the funds.
“Despite the recent spike in scams, features like PayID remain significantly underutilised among our business customers, even though it considerably reduces the risk of being scammed.
“Through PayID, customers can link payee details to their ABN, providing peace of mind that funds are being sent to a legitimate account. It takes minutes to set up and could save businesses thousands,” said Mr Young.
With recent Westpac data revealing reported customer scams had doubled during the pandemic1, Westpac has significantly invested in fraud and scam prevention, including:
- PayID – customers can register their ABN as their payee details in Westpac’s online or mobile banking.
- Merchant fraud detection technology – preventing over 380,000 fraudulent transactions in real-time since launching the capability in August, protecting businesses and customers.
- Mobile push notifications – providing mobile banking customers with visibility over their account activity so suspicious transactions can be flagged immediately.
“The technology scammers are using is becoming incredibly advanced; but so are we,” says Young.
“We continue to significantly invest in our scam and fraud prevention capabilities, as well as improving education and awareness to better protect our customers. But it’s equally important for Australians to remain vigilant and look-out for potential scammers.”
More information about the latest scams and how to avoid them is available at www.westpac.com.au/scams.
Further details about PayID and how to set it up is also available via the Westpac website.
1 Westpac Scam Stoppers Snapshot, August 2021.