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Payment redirection scams cost Australian businesses $128 million in 2020

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Payment redirection scams cost Australian businesses $128 million in 2020

Payment redirection scams cost Australian businesses $128 million in 2020

Payment redirection scams were the most financially damaging scams for Australian businesses in 2020 according to the ACCC’s latest Targeting Scams report. Combined losses reported to Scamwatch, other government agencies, banks and payment platforms totalled $128 million in 2020.
Reports to Scamwatch show that Australian businesses lost $18 million to scams in 2020, a 260 per cent increase on losses reported in 2019.
“Small and micro businesses made most of the reports to Scamwatch and experienced an increase in losses in 2020, although larger businesses reported the highest losses,” ACCC Deputy Chair Mick Keogh said.
Based on Scamwatch data alone, false billing scams were the most commonly reported scam by businesses and accounted for three quarters of total losses to businesses. Small and micro businesses accounted for almost 60 per cent of these false billing reports.
There are a range of false billing scams, but the most common type was payment redirection scams, also known as business email compromise (BEC) scams, with 1,300 reports and $14 million in losses. This is a substantial increase from the 900 reports and $5 million in losses reported in 2019.
In a payment redirection scam, scammers impersonate a business or its employees via email and request an upcoming payment be redirected to a fraudulent account.
Scamwatch also observed a new type of scam in 2020 that targeted farmers looking for a good deal on tractors and farm machinery. Scammers advertised equipment at prices well below market value, and told farmers that they couldn’t view the tractors prior to purchase due to government restrictions from the pandemic. Farmers made payments to secure these special deals, when in reality the equipment never existed. Farmers were conned out of $1.1 million in these scams.
“One thing we know about scammers is that they will take advantage of a crisis,” Mr Keogh said.
Businesses were also targeted by health and medical scams in 2020. About half of the $3.9 million in total losses reported to health and medical scams were from businesses, as they attempted to procure personal protective equipment for their staff to comply with government guidelines during the pandemic.
Other scam types that impacted businesses throughout the year included phishing, identity theft and hacking scams.
“It is so important for businesses to stay informed about scams so they can protect themselves,” Mr Keogh said.
“The ACCC provides a range of resources for businesses on how to avoid scams on the Scamwatch website and in our media releases throughout the year.”
Businesses that have been scammed should contact their bank as soon as possible. If the scam occurred on a platform such as Facebook, contact them directly to report it.
Businesses can also report a scam to ReportCyber, which is run by the Australian Cyber Security Centre and passes reports to law enforcement agencies for assessment and intelligence purposes.
The Small Business Information Network also provides details about new or updated resources, enforcement action, changes to Australia’s competition and consumer laws, events, surveys and scams relevant to the small business sector.

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BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS

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BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS
BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS

BYRON BUSINESSES RALLY BEHIND LOCAL BUYING CAMPAIGN AS TOURIST TRADE SLUMPS

By Margaret Dekker

A group of Byron Bay traders met last Friday to discuss a slump in trade in the iconic tourist town due to plummeting tourist numbers and foot traffic.

Katie Munro from clothing label Arnhem told The Northern Rivers Times talk is rife among traders about concerns over in-store sales falling across an array of businesses in the community.  In her conversations with other local businesses there are reports of revenue dropping by as much as 60 percent.

“People were buying last year, but with fear and the ongoing uncertainty about the virus, this year buying habits have shifted to what is essential,” Katie Munro said.

“And there’s no one in town,” she said.

The irony of the situation, Katie says, is while Byron Shire property prices are booming and millions of dollars are being injected into real estate, the big spending is not being replicated in local tills.

And despite mounting requests from shop tenants, commercial landlords are firmly refusing rent relief on Byron Bay shopfronts which can average around $2,000 a week on the premium strips.

In a united effort to stem the engulfing tide, Byron Bay retailers and restaurateurs have begun a new ‘Love for Locals’ campaign, rewarding shoppers from the Shire with experiences and store discounts, and special offers and deals between traders.  ‘Love for Locals’ is being pitched at old and new ‘Byronians’ in an effort to “get the town going again.”

“.. Conversations have started around buying local, not giving our dollar to big multinational companies .. We can make an impact if we stop and consider every little spending decision we make,” Katie Munro said.

With news late last week of virus fragments detected in Byron Bay wastewater, and a new alert over a COVID-19 positive person landing in Ballina from Sydney on July 14, the mood has shifted again with Byron Bay last weekend likened to ‘a Ghost Town.’

But Katie Munro says there is also energy and optimism stirring as traders collaborate with other local businesses and begin embedding new behaviours with a focus on supporting local; to move from ‘struggling’ to surviving and thriving ‘during these strange times.’

“Conversations have started. There’s a movement, momentum among local traders, we can get through this again.” Katie Munro said.

 

 

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Risk of misinformation on the rise on social media

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Risk of misinformation on the rise on social media
Risk of misinformation on the rise on social media

Risk of misinformation on the rise

 
• One fifth of people act on what they see or hear on social media
• A quarter trust the information they find on social media
• Risk of misinformation on the rise as people disengage from traditional communication
 
Sydney, NSW – The power of social media to influence people’s behaviour is on the rise as other forms of communication become less effective.
This is a key finding from the latest Togetherness Index released today by strategic communication consultancy SenateSHJ.
 
Social media is playing a significant role in motivating people to change their behaviour, which amplifies the risk of misinformation as well as helping to connect people.
A third of those surveyed found communication on social media from sources other than friends and family effective. A quarter trusted this information while a fifth of people say they have changed their behaviour because of what they have found on social media.
 
Darren Behar, Managing Partner at SenateSHJ, said the proportions have held up despite warnings about the influence of social media and of misinformation found on these platforms.
 
He said: “At the same time the influence of business, government, local community leaders and even friends and family have slipped. It would seem we are less engaged with traditional sources of information, perhaps because of COVID-19 fatigue. People are turning to social media for information, and while they may find trusted sources, the risk of exposure to misinformation is heightened.”
 
Nationally, less than four in 10 Australians are engaging with government communication, slipping from almost 50% during the first half of the COVID-19 pandemic, and media now only influential with one in four according to the annual Togetherness Index.
 
Fewer than one in three respondents gave a lot or some thought to communication from community leaders, while 24% did so to communication from leaders of large businesses – also down on last year. Concerningly the most powerful influencers of our behaviour, family saw the most significant drop from 57 to 43%.
 
Jodie Wrigley, Head of Health and Social Change at SenateSHJ, said it is now more important than ever to ensure people can spot misinformation.
 
She said: “Eighteen months into this pandemic people are engaging less with communication from businesses and leaders in the community showing they are fatigued and potentially complacent. This is to be expected.
 
“It’s important to keep bringing the community together, to appeal in many ways to different sectors of the community and to do so in a variety of ways, including at the community level. We must also
make sure people who are turning to social media know where do go for trusted information, and how to pick up on misinformation.”
 
The Togetherness Index is based on a survey of 1,000 Australians. The original research explores what components of communication contribute to togetherness, or social cohesion, within the community.

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Business News

New Tweed Heads Office for The Northern Rivers Times

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The new Tweed Heads Office of The Northern Rivers Times

The Northern Rivers Times MARKING MILESTONE WITH NEW OFFICE IN TWEED HEADS

The Northern Rivers Times is celebrating its first-year milestone as a newspaper with a ‘bricks and mortar’ presence in the heart of Tweed Heads.

The new Tweed Heads office (pictured) is found at Office 5, 7-11 Wharf Street across the road and down from Twin Towns Services Club. The modern office with prominent signage is a one-stop shop for all Tweed editorial, advertisement, and classified needs.

Call in and say hello to Tansi at reception or discuss your advertising goals using The Northern Rivers Times’ broad regional reach, with one of the experienced sales team headed by Dianne Withers (formerly Northern Star), Diane Sharp and Annette Crompton. For any local story ideas or news tips, veteran news journalist Margaret Dekker is your go-to for coverage.

A dedicated Tweed office has always been a key goal of The Northern Rivers Times which, notably, unites readers across the renowned and diverse Northern Rivers region in one reliable, entertaining, and informative weekly hardcopy.

Director and co-founder of The Northern Rivers Times, Jeff Gibbs, said having an office in the Tweed region bucks the trend of ‘print decline’ and instead shows the paper’s commitment to the Tweed as an important, valuable, and thriving centre of which the Times is a growing part.

“Sharon and I always planned other offices in the northern rivers and that is still our plan, the Tweed office was very important to us due to the demand from the community in the Tweed. Having a presence and employing staff in Tweed is exciting and the girls have full control on how to manage their area”. “And in saying that, having Margaret as our journalist covering the Tweed only enforces our commitment to the community,” said Mr. Gibbs. “The Northern Rivers Times has always been planned as “The Newspaper” of the northern rivers, we employ staff in many capacities from right across the region and we will continue to expand, new offices are planned in various locations over the next 6-12 months”.

The new office is open 9am-4pm, Monday to Thursday, at Office 5 7-11 Wharf Street Tweed Heads or by appointment Ph. 07 5551 4161

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