By WAFarmers President, Tony York
Following a recent situation in which I found myself in the middle of an internet scam which will likely cost me over $20,000, I urge members, the wider agricultural community and anyone who pays invoices to remain vigilant to this unscrupulous behaviour.
I would like to take this opportunity to share with you my experience, in the hope that you can avoid similar situations.
We regularly deal with suppliers via email, and send and receive invoices this way. We received an invoice by email with a notification on the paperwork to please note their new bank details, which were provided in the email. Our accountant updated the bank details and paid the invoice as usual.
After several calls from the supplier asking why we had not paid, the fraud was discovered when we sent back a copy of the original invoice and they noticed the incorrect bank details. They informed us that this was not the invoice they sent out and further investigation revealed that the invoice somehow had been intercepted before we received it, the banking details altered and then sent onto us for payment. This all happened in approximately a 13 minute period.
We promptly notified the banks and an attempt to recall the funds was instigated, as was a police investigation. Sadly, there may be little hope of recovering the funds as the bank account details we were given are likely to be connected to an overseas account.
This is apparently quite a common crime and we all need to protect themselves against these risks. One of the ways to do this is to make sure your software protection is current, and regularly change your passwords.
If you receive a notification of a bank account change, it is a good idea to call the company and verbally check this is genuine.
WAFarmers’ IT specialist has suggested you can take extra precaution by installing Malwarebytes which is available online to download for a free 14 day trial or $55.95 a year. Unlike some of the other internet antiviruses on sale, Malwarebytes also scans your computer for spyware and adware which can find its way into your computer and gain access to private and banking information. For more information visit https://www.malwarebytes.com/