8 January 2015

How Hackers are Getting Smarter

It isn't a new problem, but this new scam is so blindingly obvious that it's smart!

Hackers have started to access business email accounts and send messages to customers along the lines of:

"Please be advised that our bank details have now changed.  For any future payments please update your records to reflect this change."

It appears some businesses have lost a substantial amount of money due to customers following the email instructions.

If you receive an email like this, it is well worth the time and effort to double check with the company and make sure it is legitimate.  If the funds have cleared into the 'scam' bank account, it is very unlikely that your bank will be able to retrieve them for you as it appears as a genuine transfer.  It is often at the discretion of the payee whether to return incorrectly transferred funds.  Most banks will have terms and conditions along the lines of:

"The bank cannot reverse transactions you make in error, either to this bank or other bank accounts. Should an amount sent by you in error not be returned automatically by the receiving financial institution [for example due to a non-existent account number], it may not be recoverable at all."

If Overells ever changes our bank account details, we will note and highlight the change on our tax invoices and advise you with an email as well.  You would be more than welcome to call us to confirm if you were still uncertain.  This will likely be the case for many businesses.  If you only get an email to notify you it is possibly a scam.

If you think you have been scammed, it is important to contact your bank as soon as possible so they have a better chance of stopping the funds transfer/cheque etc. SCAMwatch is a very useful, Government-run, website you can use to check the tell-tale signs of a scam, find what to do if you think you have been scammed, or to keep up-to-date on popular scams.

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This Newsletter, of necessity, has dealt with matters of a technical nature in general terms only. Clients should contact us for detailed information on any of the items in the Newsletter. No responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting in reliance upon any material in this Newsletter can be accepted by any member or employee of the firm.

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