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NT Police issue cybercrime warning after two businesses handover more than $1 million to scammers

Northern Territory Police say they’re investigating “numerous” incidents of cybercrime targeting building and real estate companies, after two businesses handed over more than half a million dollars each to scammers in recent months.

In a statement on Tuesday, a police spokesperson detailed an incident in September where a building company transferred more than $550,000 to a fraudulent bank account after being targeted by a “business email compromise scam”.

The following month, another business handed over $530,000 in a similar scam.

Police are currently investigating both incidents but said they do not appear to be connected.

Senior Constable Nadine Caulfield urged businesses to be aware of online risks and take steps to protect themselves against cybercrime.

“Scammers can be very good at impersonating accounts and addresses,” she said.

“If you are planning on transferring a large amount of money online, police recommend contacting the recipient directly in order to confirm payment details.

“This is a warning that online offenders continue to target the Northern Territory community.”

Scams on the rise nationally

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has so far received more than 166,000 Scamwatch reports nationally this year, totalling $424.8 million in losses — or more than $47 million a month.

It signifies a 90 per cent increase in financial losses compared to the same period last year.

The watchdog said these figures were likely to be the tip of the iceberg, estimating only 13 per cent of victims report to Scamwatch.

Meanwhile, up to 96 per cent of the Australian population was exposed to a scam in the five years leading up to 2021, according to research commissioned by the ACCC.

Several online data breaches have rocked Australian companies in recent months, with Optus and Medibank both experiencing large-scale hacking attacks.

“With millions of Australians more vulnerable to scams following the recent spate of large-scale data breaches, there has never been a more important time to know the tell-tale signs of a scammer,” ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said.


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