An Orange landscape gardener has been conned out of $4000 after falling victim to an elaborate duplicate email scam.
Jason Munday has warned local businesses to be alert after he was tricked into paying money into a false bank account.
Mr Munday said he received a quote from a supplier in his inbox.
Just 14 minutes later the email was sent again.
But this one was a scammed copy with changed bank account details and a note in poor English asking for payment.
When Mr Munday and wife Nicole later went to pay an agreed $4000 to the local supplier they inadvertently replied to the newer, but false, email and sent money to the scammer’s account.
The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission’s (ACCC) Scamwatch service said variations of the scam had been operating in Australia for a few years.
It said scammers gained access to business email accounts, trolled them looking for quotes and invoices and then emailed a copy with their own bank account details.
Mr Munday said the second email “looked exactly the same” as the real one.
He said he found out a week later when he contacted the supplier who said it hadn’t received the $4000.
A surprised Mr Munday said he showed his payment details to the supplier.
“He said, ‘that’s not my BSB or account number,” Mr Munday said.
“He said, ‘Jase, you’ve been scammed’.
“It’s amazing, they don’t rob you with a gun anymore, they use a computer.”
Mr Munday said the false bank account had been traced to Western Australia.
He said he had reported it to Orange police while his bank was investigating it.
“I’ve been told [by the bank] the money’s recoverable,” he said.
“I’ve got 80-90 per cent chance of getting the money back.”
He urged businesses to be vigilant online.
“It’s very easy to get trapped without checking that fineprint,” he said.
ACCC Deputy Chair Dr Michael Schaper said Scamwatch received 5432 reports about business scams in 2017 and more than half involved small businesses.
RELATED CONTENT: How to protect your small business from email scams.
RELATED CONTENT: False billing scam, a real life story