Small businesses with fewer than 20 staff are the most likely targets of scams directed at businesses.

That sobering statistic from the Council of Small Business Organisations Australia (COSBOA) during the ACCC’s scam awareness week, which runs from August 12 to 16.

Last year, Australian businesses lost more than $7.2 million to scams.

“Here is a rule of thumb: if you think something is a scam, it probably is. Hang up, delete it or walk away,” according to COSBOA.

“In the world of small business, falling for a scam causes financial havoc and emotional distress for business owners, staff and their families. 

“We need to raise awareness on how to identify and report scams so that others are less likely to fall victim to the plots of these desperate scumbags. 

“Scammers are becoming more and more sophisticated and hard to identify, so we all need to stay vigilant and not fall into the trap of thinking we are too smart, too young, too cool, too irrelevant, too beautiful, too hideous, too whatever-you-think-you-are to be scammed.” 

How to protect your small business from scams

Here are some official resources that small businesses can consult if they want to learn more:

ACCC deputy chair Delia Rickard said small business owners should be aware of how modern scams work so they can protect themselves.

“Scammers are professional businesses dedicated to ripping us off,” she said.

“They have call centres with convincing scripts, staff training programs, and corporate performance indicators their ‘employees’ need to meet.”