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Sophisticated scams target WA businesses

AAP logoAAP 17/08/2016 Rebecca Gredley

Fraudsters posing as chief executives or third party suppliers have cost WA businesses and not-for-profit organisations at least $500,000 over the past two years.

Consumer Protection's WA ScamNet recorded at least 15 payment diversion scams between 2015 and 2016, with losses totalling $461,215.

Detective Senior Sergeant Steve Potter from the WA Police Major Fraud Squad says the attacks are sophisticated and involve research into the target organisation, including key employee names.

"They may involve multiple convincing phone calls based on prior research about active work.

"The attackers appear to have reasonably detailed knowledge of both current work or projects and associated suppliers," he said.

Known as "man in the middle" attacks, scammers typically pretend to be a supplier and then ask for a change to the payment process by supplying an alternative bank account.

In one case, the email account of a business was hacked, and a client was given an amended invoice with new bank details for payment.

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