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The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is warning small business owners about false billing scams this Fraud Week after the Targeting Scams Report 2013 revealed a 45 per cent increase in complaints. False billing scams attempt to trick busy businesses into paying for unwanted or unauthorised listings or advertisements in magazines, journals or business directories. View the youtube video here.

As part of Fraud Week, ACCC offer small businesses advice on avoiding false billing scams:

Make sure the business you are dealing with is the real deal – if you receive a form or tax invoice out of the blue, verify who they are by contacting the company directly using contact details you sourced independently through a phone book or online search.

Make your business ‘fraud-free’ – effective management procedures can go a long way towards preventing scams. Have a clearly defined process for verifying and paying accounts and invoices, and try to avoid giving too many staff authorisation to make orders or pay invoices.

Don’t be intimidated – do not let anyone pressure you into making decisions involving payments or contracts. If you are unsure, always seek independent financial or legal advice.

Update your IT security software regularly and make sure you use and offer secure online payment methods.

Small businesses can find out about the latest scams by visiting or following @scamwatch_gov.