South-west business owners can expect to be targeted in the latest round of email scams trying to con victims into changing bank account details.
Police are aware of the scam involvinging emails informing victims of a change of bank account.
Ballarat police have seen four of these scamsemails in the past five months, which has resulted in the theft of $120,000.
Police understand that these emails appear to be from a business email but may have one less or one extra letter in the email address.
The email explains that the business has changed its bank details and requests the victim to provide new bank details.
The next step of the scam is a follow-up email requesting payment of outstanding invoices to be made immediately.
So prevalent and successful is the scam that many businesses now include a note on their email signature saying they will never change bank accounts through emails.
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Last year almost $480,000 was scammed from Warrnambool's Emmanuel College. Only $1200 was recovered by police.
The email sent to the school originated from overseas, a duped third-party account holder in Queensland then had the money placed in their account before it was moved overseas.
Warrnambool police Detective Senior Constable Richard Hughes said officers had spoken to the Queensland account holder.
"A relationship had been built up with him over a couple of years, since 2012, and he tells us that over that time he has sent gifts overseas of $10,000 to $12,000," he said.
"It does not appear he was involved to make any gain. The social media communications have originated in the United States, United Kingdom and Nigeria."
Emmanuel College principal Peter Morgan said the the impact of the scam was a huge setback for the college's future plans.
"The college has accessed independent expert assistance to ensure any gaps in its procedures are closed," he said.
"We are well insured but insurance will not cover the whole amount," he said.
A woman from Ipswich was charged in relation to a similar email bank account scam involving the Midfield Group.
But, Midfield staff stopped payment and scammers only netted a fraction of their potential collect.
Last year Wannon Water also made a complaint to Warrnambool police relating to a $120,000 scam attempt.
Anyone with any information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or submit a confidential crime report at www.crimestoppersvic.com.au
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