Cops reveal the most common cyber scams Australians fall victim to – and how to protect yourself: ‘Everyone is at risk’
Australian mom and pop businesses have been found to be the most common target for cybercriminals, with many falling victim to email-related scams.
In 2021/22 alone, businesses reported losing more than $98 million – an average loss of $64,000 per successful breach – prompting the AFP to scramble to reimburse businesses when it managed to recover the stolen money.
The most common trick used by fraudsters is business email compromise, where cybercriminals hack into companies’ email accounts or mimic them to create a fake email account pretending to belong to that company.
Fraudsters then change bank details and invoice details before they are sent to customers, redirecting wages to their own bank accounts or tricking workers into revealing sensitive business information, AFP revealed.
Businesses are estimated to have lost more than $98 million in 2021/22 alone after falling victim to online scams (photo, stock)
Cybercriminal networks based in Africa and Eastern Europe are behind online scams, as well as domestic scammers and groups.
“Cybercrime is the burglary of the 21st century,” Chris Goldsmid, cybercrime operations commander, told AFP.
“And for many in the community, it’s about reimagining what a crime scene looks like.”
“Whether your business is big or small, everyone is at risk, so it’s important to know what to do to protect your business from cybercriminals and stay safe online,” he added.
AFP cybercrime operations commander Chris Goldsmid (pictured) urged businesses to remain vigilant against cybercriminals.
Commander Goldsmid said anyone who is a victim of cybercrime should report it immediately.
“If you believe you have been targeted, secure compromised accounts and notify all affected third parties,” he said.
Businesses are urged to use the Australian government’s cybercrime reporting tool, ReportCyber, and contact their bank within 24 hours of realizing the money has been stolen to increase their chances of getting it back.
“Business, particularly family businesses, is the engine room of Australia,” Commander Goldsmid added.
“Business leaders work hard and the AFP works hard to protect them from cybercriminals looking for an easy payday.”
The AFP, through Operation Dolos, managed to return $45 million worth of stolen money to businesses over the past three years.
TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF AND YOUR BUSINESS ONLINE:
1. Don’t open links or attachments in suspicious emails or from people you don’t know, and train your employees to recognize potential phishing emails.
2. Limit access levels within your company to minimize risk and ensure access is revoked when employees change roles or leave the company.
3. Stay away from simple passwords and consider using multi-factor authentication and strong passphrases.
4. Always confirm account details before making any transaction.
Source: Australian Federal Police