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Freight scam shuts down Australian businesses

Victims are losing tens of thousands of dollars to the email scam, which targets IT and electrical businesses.

Several Australian businesses have closed down after falling victim to a freight forwarding email scam targeting IT and electrical businesses, the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) reports. Victims are losing on average between $30,000 and $100,000 after sending goods to scammers, who ask for delayed payment credit terms.

Scammers trick victims by spoofing Internet domains, emails and signatures of executives of universities or large Australian companies. For example, their emails might come from lendleases.com.au instead of lendlease.com.au. One of the scam emails published by the ACSC is purportedly from a Chief Procurement Officer at the University of Sydney. The scammers request hard drives, laptops, defibrillators, environmental monitoring equipment and cosmetics.

Victims are asked to send the goods to freight forwarding companies, who send the goods to another scammer who acts as an intermediary. The freight forwarding company also becomes a victim because the scammers pay using stolen credit cards or on credit. The scammers ask for shipment to Dagenham, UK, Deira, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Singapore, according to the ACSC.

Of course, you should never automatically trust an unsolicited request for goods and credit, but mistakes can happen if you don’t have strict rules governing the approval of transactions. The ACSC has issued a reminder that businesses should do due diligence on new customers, and validate customers before providing credit.

It also suggests checking the domain of web sites and emails, and checking purchase orders. And it recommends contacting companies by phone to confirm orders and check customers are genuine – and confirm that delivery addresses are correct.

If you are unsure about the authenticity of the e-mail you received, please feel free to contact us at QBT to have the e-mail verified.