Mistaken Payments: Don't get caught out

January 11, 2019

Some malicious operators and hackers will go to great lengths to steal information, fraudulently obtain money or carry out other illegal activity to cause significant disruption to businesses. If you cannot effectively recognise your business's security vulnerabilities or identify when something has gone wrong, you could get scammed into disclosing important information or making mistaken payments to those operators. Image

How easily can it happen?

Hackers are becoming increasingly sophisticated when it comes to gaining access to your email accounts. This can make it difficult to distinguish between malicious messages and genuine communications, leading to the transfer of funds to an unauthorised bank account rather than to the intended recipient.

A malicious person, disguised as a trustworthy entity, often tricks you or one of your unsuspecting employees into opening a well-crafted and convincing email, link or text message. These links may direct users to enter their login details or other sensitive information into a fake website or application or contain other potentially intrusive software such as viruses and ransomware.

Once a person gains access to your login credentials and email accounts, they can view all the emails you have sent and recieved from a third party including those regarding the transfer of funds. From there, these malicious operators can send emails pretending to be a third party and deceitfully request you transfer the money to their bank account rather than to the intended recipient. These funds will now be directed to a fraudulent account.

What can you do if this happens to you?

If you find yourself in the situation where you have been scammed into transferring funds into an account that was not intentional, it is essential to act quickly.

Contact your bank and the bank that you transferred the funds to by mistake as soon as possible after the incident has occurred. The earlier you contact the banks, and the more detail you can provide them (for example the date, amount and account details), the better your chances are at recovering the lost payments.

What can you do to prevent it?

There are many ways you can take action to help prevent incidents like the above from happening to you, such as:

  • Ensure all computers and devices are protected with up to date anti-virus and anti-malware software.
  • Stay aware of your password security and strength. All passwords should be changed frequently and different passwords used for company emails and other accounts such as banking and personal social media accounts.
  • Ensure that your company email and passwords are not used to create or access any other accounts outside the company environment.
  • Ensure your networks and devices are secure by using 2-factor authentication for all online accounts. This can also help to limit the damage if credentials are lost or stolen.
  • Ensure that you remain as vigilant as possible when sending emails, particularly when the transfer of funds is involved and that you don't click on any links that look suspicious.

Before transferring money online:

  • Verify that the email address that you are sending any information to be the same address that was previously used. It is important to look closely at the recipient address as hackers can be clever. They will often only make slight changes to an existing email address to make the fraudulent one appear almost identical to the genuine address.
  • Verify that the bank account details you are transferring the funds over to are the same as those details that were previously used for similar transactions.
  • Check all emails for any obvious spelling mistakes of names and places which could give away that the email is fraudulent.

How Quanta can help

Quanta provide innovative insurance solutions and an expansive product offering. For more information on how Quanta can help or to speak to one of the specialist underwriters in our team, please give us a call on (02) 9225 4111.

The information provided in this article is of a general nature only and has been prepared without taking into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs. If you require advice that is tailored to your specific business or individual circumstances, please contact Quanta directly.


Article content based on an information flyer that was prepared by HBA Legal for Quanta Insurance Group Pty Ltd ("Quanta")

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