False billing scam costs Murraylands business $153,000

It looked like a legitimate email from a legitimate supplier who had just done a major job, but it wasn't.

A Murraylands business is more than $150,000 out of pocket after being targeted by false billing scammers earlier this month.

The business had work carried out by a legitimate company on April 1, and received a legitimate invoice for the work.

However, soon afterwards they received an email which appeared to be from the same company, and which claimed it had switched to a new bank account.

The business’ owners paid their $153,000 bill into the new account.

Only later did they realise they had been scammed.

Police warned businesses to be careful about suppliers or contractors changing their bank account details.

To avoid being scammed:

  • Treat with caution phone calls, emails or letters from a supplier seeking to change bank account details

  • Call a known contact directly, on a phone number you have on file or one on their official website, to confirm whether the new details are legitimate

  • Write back to an email address you know rather than replying to an email you receive – scammers often use an address which is very similar

  • Search online for the BSB you have been asked to send money to, to check where it is located

  • Check any changes in person with a manager – scammers have been known to hack senior employees’ emails, then send false emails to junior employees asking them to transfer money

In many cases, scammers use Australian bank accounts to launder money before transferring it overseas.

Money launderers risk prison terms of up to 20 years.

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