Cops reveal the most common cyber scams Australians are falling victim to – and how to protect yourself: ‘Everyone is at risk’
Police 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 targets of cybercriminals, with many falling victim to email-related scams.
In 2021/2022 alone, companies reported losing more than $98 million – or an average loss of $64,000 per successful breach – prompting the AFP to refund companies when it successfully recovered stolen funds.
The most common trick used by scammers is corporate email compromise, where cybercriminals hack or replicate companies’ email accounts to create a fake email account pretending to be from that company.
Fraudsters then change bank and contact details on invoices before sending them to customers, diverting salaries to their own bank accounts or tricking employees into revealing sensitive company information, the AFP revealed.
Businesses reportedly lost more than $98 million in 2021/2022 alone after falling victim to online scams (pictured, shares)
Cybercriminal networks in Africa and Eastern Europe are behind the online scams, as are domestic scammers and groups.
“Cybercrime is the burglary of the 21st century,” said Chris Goldsmid, Commander of AFP Cybercrime Operations.
“And for many in the community, it means 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) has urged companies 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, ensure the compromised accounts are secure and notify any affected third parties,” he said.
Businesses are being urged to use the Australian government’s cybercrime reporting tool, ReportCyber, and contact their banks within 24 hours of realizing the money has been stolen to increase their chances of recovery.
“Businesses, especially mom-and-pop businesses, are the engine room of Australia,” Commander Goldsmid added.
“Business owners work hard and the AFP works hard to protect them from cybercriminals looking for an easy payday.”
The AFP has managed to return $45 million worth of stolen money to companies over the past three years under Operation Dolos.
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. Ditch simple passwords and consider using multi-factor authentication and strong passphrases.
4. Always confirm account details before making a transaction.
Source: Australian Federal Police