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Common scams targeting business

Businesses can be just as vulnerable to scams as anyone else in the community. However, there are some types of scams that more commonly target businesses.

Overpayment scams

The scammer contacts you about purchasing goods and services, and when it comes time to pay, sends you more than the agreed price. The scammer will commonly pay by cheque, money order or credit card. They will then ask you to refund the excess amount, usually through an online banking transfer, pre-loaded money card or wire transfer. The scammer is hoping you will transfer the excess amount before you discover their cheque has bounced or that the money order or credit card wasfraudulent.

Tip: Find more information at Overpayment scams.

False billing

The scammer will send you or your business an invoice for goods or services that you didn’t order (e.g. directory listings, advertising, domain name renewals or office supplies). They’re hoping that you will pay the ‘invoice’ before anyone realises that those goods or services were never requested. This type of scam tries to take advantage of the fact that the person handling the administrative duties for your business may not necessarily be across operational activities.

Tip: Find more information at False billing.


The scammer will generally contact you via email, phone call or text message pretending to be from a legitimate business such as a bank, telephone or internet service provider. They might say they’re verifying customer records due to a technical error, or alert you to ‘unauthorised or suspicious activity on your account’.

The scammer is hoping you’ll give out personal information such as your bank account details, passwords and credit card numbers.

Tip: Find more information at Phishing.

Investment schemes

Graphic of pire chart and bar graphs
The scammer contacts you claiming to be a stock broker or portfolio manager, offering an investment that will provide you with quick, high returns. The scammer commonly operates from overseas with no Australian Financial Services licence, and the investment results in large losses or assets that are virtually worthless.

This type of scam usually involves telemarketing campaigns marketed as tax-free financial opportunities to get your business to part with money.


Tip: Find more information at Investment schemes.