Scams Awareness: Helping agricultural businesses keep safe from scams

04 November 2022

Scams Awareness: Helping agricultural businesses keep safe from scams

The Australian Banking Association (ABA) is encouraging farmers and small businesses in regional areas to remain vigilant for potential scams following a significant rise in 2022.
Australian farm businesses between 1 January and 31 August 2022, have reportedly lost more than $1.2 million* to scams, a rise of more than 20% compared to this period in 2021. Notably there has been a spike in scams around buying heavy machinery, which makes up over $1 million worth of total scam losses.

“These reported figures are likely the tip of the iceberg and with the number of scams for farmers and small businesses in regional areas increasing, there are some simple steps that can be taken to help protect from scams,” ABA Chief Executive Officer Anna Bligh said.

“Services in Australia such as PayID, BPay and e-invoicing will show who you’re paying before you pay, ensuring you pay the correct person, before you make the payment,” Ms Bligh said.

“PayID is user friendly, free to register and is offered by more than 100 banks, building societies, credit unions and other organisations. We encourage farmers and small businesses in regional areas to join PayID as the more payments made with PayID the more protected customers will be,” she said.

Ms Bligh said protecting customers information and funds was the highest priority for banks and that they stand ready to help customers.

“Farmers and small businesses are encouraged to speak with their bank about the best way to protect their accounts and if they notice any suspicious activity or think they have been scammed, it's important to report this to their bank immediately,” Ms Bligh said.

Here are some tips to protect you and your business from scams:

  • Never share your passwords and personal information
  • Anyone asking for your password is probably a scammer
  • Be a sceptic when reading email attachments, links and texts. When in doubt, delete
  • Scammers target everyone, and they sound genuine
  • Use up-to-date anti-virus software to protect your computer
  • Don’t send money or personal information to people from unusual locations
  • Regularly check your accounts for suspicious transactions.

Ms Bligh added, "Unfortunately we've previously seen instances of scammers taking advantage of flood-impacted communities and targeting those most vulnerable. Sadly, we all need to be on the lookout for those impersonating government, volunteer, insurance and other organisations and report scammers to Scamwatch".

What is PayID?

Paying to a PayID is a way for bank customers to know their funds are going to the right account. It can help to protect customers from scammers who may intercept invoices and change payment details. Simple information such as a mobile number or email address can be linked to a bank account and used as a PayID to receive payments. A PayID can then be provided instead of a BSB and account number.