The lead up to Christmas is prime time for cyber fraud and scams targeting busy businesses. Food South Australia sponsor NAB Agribusiness has some important tips for us all. Find out how you can be cyber safe this festive season.
We can all play a part in preventing cybercrime. The first step is learning to identify suspicious messages.
Identifying and managing spam
Spam refers to unsolicited junk emails that are sent to large numbers of people at once. Spam emails are typically advertising fake products or get rich quick schemes.
Don’t bother unsubscribing from spam emails; this just confirms to spammers that your email address works and they will keep spamming you. The most effective way of managing spam emails is to use your email settings to send these emails to your junk folder.
Phishing (pronounced fishing) emails are more sinister than spam. They’re designed to trick you into providing personal information such as:
- a mobile phone number
- usernames and passwords
- credit card details or bank details
You’re in control with phishing emails
Criminals use email for the same reason legitimate business do – it’s a cheap way to get to a lot of people.
Phishing emails often pretend to be from legitimate companies such as banks, courier companies or government departments, and can contain links to fake websites.
These fake sites look very similar to the real ones, and are designed to trick people into entering your bank or credit card details, or details that identify you, such as your date of birth and address.
The phishing email you receive was probably sent to several thousand other people as well. You have the opportunity to outsmart these criminals by taking a few seconds to look for the signs that something is up.
Take a good hard look at any emails you receive that claim to be regarding a failed payment, overdue invoice or change of details for payment. Check the email address it’s come from. Sometimes that’s a giveaway because it won’t be the usual one – but be aware too that the scammers are getting smarter and can hide the originating email better than they used to be able to do.
Sometimes the emails will have an attachment that appears to be an invoice, or document. When you try to open the attachment, it installs malware on to your computer without your knowledge. Never open attachments unless you are absolutely sure they are legitimate.
Ways to identify phishing emails
This email looks normal at a glance but… look again. It has a nearly but not quite right email address. The branding isn’t right and the language isn’t right either. These are all clues the email is a fraud.
Requests to change accounting or payment details
Busy accounting departments are also frequently targeted with emails advising of a change of account details for payment. It’s important to always check these by phoning the client or supplier directly – using a phone number you have sourced and checked yourself rather than any phone number given in the email you receive.
The Australian Government has a dedicated website, managed by the ACCC, where you can check for the latest news on scams and report a scam email. Visit Scamwatch at www.scamwatch.gov.au for more information.
If you receive a scam or phishing email, always report it by phone to the company it is pretending to represent, so they know it’s out there and can act to protect themselves – and you. Companies such as NAB have a dedicated security team looking after their organisation and their customers, but whether a business has this support or not, it helps to protect us all when we share information to support the teams working to protect us.
Read, read again and always check to keep yourself and your business safe from cyber fraud.
This post has been prepared from information provided by NAB Agribusiness, a sponsor of Food South Australia. You can see the latest security alerts published on NAB’s website here, and visit the NAB Cyber Safety Hub for small – medium businesses at nab.com.au/security.