Businesses warned over new email scam, TAS

Tasmanian businesses have been warned over a new email scam circulating over recent weeks, Tasmania Police say.

Emails generally relate to the payment of invoices where the sender asks for the payment to be made into a different account. The emails can look very convincing and refer to actual work or invoice numbers. They may also include the name of the supplier, logos, links to websites, and appear to have the same email address.

Due to the nature of cybercrime being borderless it can sometimes be difficult to identify offenders, particularly foreign nationals, as we rely on co-operation from other countries. Therefore, education and harm-minimisation is the key.

Protecting your business from cyber-attacks is a matter of having a cybersecurity strategy in place from the start, which is far easier than trying to repair the damage after it happens.

All businesses should have a cybersecurity plan, and it’s important employees are aware of what to do in the event of suspicious activity online, particularly with sudden changes to payment details.

Some key tips to help with cybersecurity are:

  • Keep anti-virus software and security update patching up-to-date.
  • Regularly back up your data.
  • Use complex passwords that can’t be easily guessed.
  • Appoint an administrator to restrict access to accounts and sensitive information. Use a two-step authorisation process for payments.
  • Only install software from trusted sites and never open links from unknown sources such as emails or pop-up messages.
  • Any sudden changes to account information or payment arrangements should be treated with caution and verified through trusted means and not with the details provided on the suspicious email or communication. Don’t use the links or phone numbers provided in the email.
  • Do your own research to validate who you’re dealing with.

For further advice and assistance:

  • Australian cyber security centre – www.acsc.gov.au
  • ACCC Scamwatch – www.scamwatch.gov.au
  • Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network www.acorn.gov.au
  • The Tasmanian Government’s Digital Ready program has been developed to assist small to medium businesses take charge of their online presence and offers one-on-one coaching and seminars including managing cybersecurity risks. It’s a free service and further information can be found on their website at digitalready.tas.gov.au
  • Tasmania Police has links to websites regarding online safety on our website at police.tas.gov.au

Reporting

  • If you’ve suffered a loss because of a cyber-attack you should report it to your bank or financial institution immediately.
  • Report online at www.acorn.gov.au or to your local police station.

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