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New Scam Alert – Be Aware

We wanted to alert AFTA members to a new scam recently brought to our attention. This scam invites your business to partake in an official tender to provide travel services to an international organisation.

New scam to hit Australia

So sophisticated is this particular approach, official tender documents have been copied from the real organisation. Names and email addresses, even phone numbers and physical locations appear to match any searches / checks you would normally carry out. These don’t have the familiar spelling mistakes that were a feature of the letters from the Nigerian prince…

This deception is so complete that even tender negotiations go back and forth just as with any normal commercial tender. The tender is eventually awarded and a contract executed. A meeting with the client is agreed upon at the organisation’s real location … but when the Sales Manager arrives, the real organisation has no knowledge of the contract. Tickets have already been provided – money has already been lost.

Every day your business will receive “scam” communications via emails, phone calls and even written requests all for the same goal – to obtain funds, goods or services by deception. Some attempts will be obvious fakes but unfortunately some will be very convincing.

Whilst there has always been risks involved with doing business the frequency of attempts and the sophistication of the scams have been increasing rapidly. In the past it was a few victims discovering they had been duped – now this is a regular occurrence and the amounts involved can be staggering.

It may come as a surprise to many that Professional Indemnity Insurance does not cover these losses and in most cases, neither does the Crime Section of other policies. Risk prevention is the best solution in these circumstances.

In a business climate of highs sales targets, challenging margins and heightened competition from all areas it can be very difficult to make the commercial decision to turn away a potential new client – but there is always risk which could be disastrous to a business. Be mindful of your exposure and ensure you share each new attempt with your staff – regular communication will help protect your business and hopefully continue to thwart the attempts of these criminals.

The ACCC’s Scamwatch website has a dedicated section for threats against small business and there are many valuable resources on this site:

If you would like further information or an obligation free Insurance quote, please contact Rebecca Fleming, Manager of our Travel Division at Gow-Gates Insurance Brokers on (02) 8267 9919 or to discuss your circumstances or to obtain a quotation.

General Advice Warning – the information in the above article is intended as a guide only and should not be relied upon without consulting your relevant insurance policy wording and conditions or conversely seeking professional advice from either your insurance broker or insurer regarding a claim or potential loss. Failure to adhere to this warning could result in a denial of a claim or potential loss or a reduction in settlement of a claim or potential loss.