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Save yourself from scams: Invest in the right tech

By Jack Campbell | |5 minute read

Scams cost Aussies billions of dollars. In fact, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) reported that $3.1 billion was lost due to scams last year.

Scammers aren’t just targeting individuals. Businesses reported significant losses in 2022, with the ACCC reporting that businesses lost $23.2 million, 73 per cent more than in 2021.

“Australians lost more money to scams than ever before in 2022, but the true cost of scams is much more than a dollar figure as they also cause emotional distress to victims, their families and businesses,” said ACCC deputy chair Catriona Lowe.


“As scammers become increasingly sophisticated in their tactics, it is clear a coordinated response across government, law enforcement and the private sector is essential to combat scams more effectively.”

Businesses can help prevent losses by implementing fraud prevention measures.

Fabian Calle, managing director for small and medium business at SAP Concur Australia and New Zealand, commented: “Fraud is a major challenge for businesses of all sizes, and disparate work environments can create more gaps in visibility, especially for accounts teams that rely on manual, paper-based processes. This can exacerbate the challenge that teams already face, especially if they are also under-resourced.”

“Without the proper processes and tools in place, accounts teams may struggle with incomplete documentation and have difficulty tracking spend trends and behaviour. This can create opportunities for internal and external malicious activity and exploitation.”

According to a statement from SAP Concur, the digital boom has resulted in more opportunities for businesses and simplified processes through automation. There have been downsides, though, namely exposure to risks as we now rely on technology to store sensitive information.

Investing in the right technology can make all the difference, said Mr Calle: “Investing more time in completing manual audits and reviews can take time away from more strategic work, which amplifies the impact on the business. To bridge the gap and reduce the potential for fraud, businesses should invest in new technology to help streamline the finance team’s tasks and empower them to contribute to other high-value business activities.”

2022 was labelled as the worst year for cyber attacks, with some of Australia’s biggest companies, such as Optus, Telstra, Medibank, and Woolworths, suffering severe data breaches. 2023 has already seen its fair share of breaches.

According to SAP Concur, a significant factor in these high-profile breaches is the new world of work. As hybrid working takes over, people have to conduct regular business practices from home, resulting in an increased risk of exploitation by hackers.

Biggest of all, according to SAP Concur, is accounts payable fraud. It’s reported that 44 per cent of finance teams know of someone who has been stung by accounts payable fraud in the last three years. Another 54 per cent have witnessed internal fraud.

SAP Concur said in a statement: “In Australia, false billing scams saw a significant uptick over 2022, increasing by 1,174 per cent, contributing to $8.6 million in losses and causing a median loss of $50,000. In this type of scam, the fraudster sends fake invoices or bills to individuals or businesses for goods or services that were never provided.”

Jack Campbell

Jack Campbell

Jack is the editor at HR Leader.