Australian SMEs are Being Targeted With Fraudulent Invoices

A recent survey has discovered that 1 in 5 Australian SME’s have been targeted with fraudulent invoices. Overall, the findings reveal that during the past 12 months eighteen percent of small businesses and sole traders have been victims of invoice fraud. With the average loss totalling $15,467.

The survey conducted by Xero aimed to investigate the impact fraudulent invoices is having on Australia’s SME community.

“This new data paints a concerning picture of the levels of invoice fraud in Australia, with small businesses of all sizes being targeted. For anyone falling victim, these scams are having a big financial impact,” said Joseph Lyons, managing director, Xero Australia and Asia.

The results from the survey revealed that 87 percent of SMEs think cyber security is important, 28 percent of businesses don’t spend any money on protection and education for their business.
When quizzed about whether they could identify a fraudulent invoice, only two in five small-business respondents were confident in spotting one, according to the report, while three in 10 respondents didn’t know how to spot a fraudulent invoice or were unsure if they would know how.

Mr Lyons said the research reinforces the need for e-invoicing to be capitalised on within the Australian market.

“As we continue on a path to economic recovery, it’s important businesses have the right measures in place to protect and enhance their financial wellbeing. Emerging tools like e-invoicing have the potential to create a safer and more effective way to manage invoices and bills, now and into the future,” said Joseph Lyons, managing director, Xero Australia and Asia.

Echoing the concerns voiced by Joseph Lyons, SMSF Association CEO John Maroney also highlighted the increasing targeting of SMSFs from scammers.

“The scammers will keep on coming; access to SMSFs and other investors is easy. All investors must be on their guard and, where feasible, report anything suspicious to ASIC,” says SMSF Association CEO John Maroney.

Furthermore, the ATO is encouraging employees and businesses along with related SMSFs to share tips and experiences with each other as scams continue to be seen across the year.

The Scams Awareness Week takes place this week between Monday 8th November and Friday 12th November. The ATO is encouraging individuals and businesses to start a conversation about scams. Passing on the ATO’s tips, or even sharing a scam experience, could help keep them safe.

“Scammers will often try to ‘phish’ for personal and financial information by impersonating government agencies like the ATO. For example, we recently issued an alert about a new email scam. The email told the recipient they were due to receive a tax refund, but to get it, they needed to fill out a form with personal details like their name, date of birth, address and credit card number,” says the ATO.

The ATO outlined that it might use SMS or email to ask individuals to contact the ATO but will never ask to provide personal identifying information through these channels.

“We’ll also never threaten you with immediate arrest, cancel your TFN, send unsolicited pre-recorded messages to your phone and keep you on the phone until a payment is made. The ATO will also not request payment via unusual methods, like cryptocurrency, gift cards or cardless cash,” said the ATO in a statement to the media.

Australian SMEs are Being Targeted With Fraudulent Invoices