26 September 2023

Police find email scams cost millions

Start the conversation

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) are urging organisations and individuals in the ACT to be aware of scams on the internet redirecting legitimate payments to alternative accounts.

Known as Business Email Compromise (BEC), the scam is persistent worldwide and has cost Australian victims more than $79 million in the past 12 months.

Commander of Cybercrime Operations at the AFP, Chris Goldsmid said that, most commonly, offenders would intercept legitimate emails or invoices from known transaction partners and change banking details to include fraudulent payment information.

“The victim will then unsuspectingly transfer funds to the offender,” Commander Goldsmid said.

“BEC often goes unnoticed until the intended recipient of the funds inquires about the missing payment, or the victim becomes aware that the funds have been deposited incorrectly,” he said.

Commander Goldsmid said that over the past 12 months, more than 3,300 incidents of BEC were reported to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) through its Report Cyber portal, with nearly half of those scams resulting in financial loss.

He said the AFP and its taskforce partners had prevented $8.45 million from being lost by the community to BEC frauds in the 2020/21 financial year.

He said people shouldn’t be embarrassed if they fell victim to BEC, as it could happen to anyone, and they should report it immediately to their bank and the police for the best chance of recovering their money.

“If you are transferring money online, do your due diligence, ensure you are comfortable that you are sending the money to the correct person and account,” Commander Goldsmid said.

Further information on how people can protect themselves from BEC can be accessed on the ACSC’s website at this PS News link.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.