SMBs lose millions in media scams

Local small and medium businesses are bearing the brunt of the close to $29 million lost annually in media scams, with more than 150 fake publications tricking businesses into parting with their cash in the last 12 months alone.

According to the Circulations Audit Board (CAB), millions of dollars are lost each month in media scams, with the $29 million total loss a conservative estimate based on complaints received from businesses that have been victims of media scammers.

In just the last 12 months, more than 150 ‘fake’ publications are estimated to have been operating in Australia, tricking businesses into spending money on advertisements that never reach their intended audience, and into paying fake invoices that seem to link to real advertisements.

NSW Fair Trading Compliance & Enforcement Assistant Commissioner Don Jones said it’s easy for small and medium businesses to be tricked by these fraudsters.

“We’re not talking immediately obvious scams – often the people behind them are using real business processes as a template, to appeal to business sense. The scam figures we have are very conservative, given that many businesses aren’t even aware they’ve been scammed and many others prefer not to acknowledge it.”

“Whether it is paying to advertise jobs in fake classifieds or placing ads in magazines that simply don’t exist, the risks for business are great.”

Jones also notes that the rise in online media is making it even easier for scammers to fool businesses.

“Increasingly the cases reported are linked with fraudulent websites and email trails that seem genuine – even the savviest business operators are being tricked. But there are some safeguards that can be put in place, and choosing audited media is definitely one of them.”

According to CAB CEO Paul Dovas, scams are just another reasons businesses should spend their advertising dollars only with audited media.

“If the publication, website or event isn’t audited, there is a serious risk that it isn’t real and you could be wasting your marketing budgets.”

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