Over the past two years throughout the pandemic, we know Australians have spent more time online to connect with family and friends, seek entertainment, and run their businesses. Unfortunately, scammers know this too and they have become even more sophisticated.
Scams can happen anywhere and anytime: by phone, text, or online. Scammers present an ongoing challenge in any environment and use tactics like adapting to real-time events – from tax time, to the COVID-19 pandemic, or elections – and are very effective at imitating real organisations.
Meta is committed to ensuring positive and safe experiences across our platforms. Over 200 million businesses connect with their customers through Meta and we invest significantly in both technology and people to help detect and remove scams violating content or suspicious behaviour. For example, between January and March 2022 we removed 1.6 billion fake accounts, which could be a vehicle for scam behaviour, and 99.7% of these were detected proactively.
We have also invested in a number of public awareness campaigns to increase user’s ability to identify and report scams.
Today, we are launching a new awareness campaign with the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, and IDCARE, a national identity and cyber support service. This campaign looks specifically at how small businesses can build trust with their customers and how customers can identify common small business scams.
Tips to identify the six most common small business scams
Here are six of the most common types of online scams consumers should be familiar with.
- Defective product scam – you order a product which turns out to be faulty, unsafe or doesn’t work.
- Stolen product scam – you order a product which turns out to be stolen and belonging to someone else.
- Cheap replica scam – you order a product which shares a striking resemblance to an original good, but doesn’t have the legitimate logo or trademark.
- Upshipped products scam – you order and pay for a product that never turns up.
- Phishing scam – You’re tricked into providing identity details by someone pretending to be a legitimate business.
- No bill scam – you buy a product but are never provided with a record of payment, so you can’t contact the seller if something goes wrong.
How to avoid these scams
- Turn on two-factor authentication to mitigate the risk of unauthorised access or activity on your account
- Verify a seller’s profile – check the website and phone number
- Check for ratings, reviews and users’ comments
- Always read the fine print
- Beware of identity theft – do not give away your personal information
- Keep evidence of all transactions.
How to be a responsible seller and build consumer trust
- Provide accurate and complete information about your business, including shipping, returns and refund policies
- Always abide by Meta’s policies, including our Community Standards and Commerce Policies
- Keep your account secure by turning on 2 factor authentication
How to keep your business and your accounts secure
- Enable two-factor authentication
To help prevent unauthorised access to business accounts online, we recommend the use of two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication is a security feature that helps protect your accounts and mitigate the risk of unauthorised activity, like someone else adding or removing users or creating ads.
- Turn on suspicious activity alerts
Sign up to receive alerts if anyone logs in from a device or browser that isn’t you. You can also turn on notifications to receive alerts around Business Manager roles, ad accounts, and ad approvals.
- Monitor ads and spending closely
We encourage you to check any active ads and your account billing weekly to ensure all activity is in line with your expectations. If there’s spending activity on your account that you don’t recognise, review your purchase history. If you still don’t recognise the activity, contact us for help.
Business owners who are looking for more proactive ways to strengthen security can review our best practices for businesses guide for help with safeguarding personal and business accounts. We know that you have a lot to do as a business owner, but taking time to review these tips over your next cup of coffee or tea, will go a long way to help you leverage our investment in keeping your online presence secure.
While these scam techniques are not unique to Meta’s platforms, we want to help small businesses to better detect scam behaviour. Together we aim to create an environment where your customers engage with your business in a safe way.
“The online world is crucial for the success of so many small and family businesses, but it also makes them a prime target for scams. It is vital for every business to stay alert to scams and understand how to protect themselves from cyber criminals. Scams can occur on many platforms, whether it over the telephone, via an email or online. We are working closely with Meta to raise awareness among small businesses about these scams and encourage them to take the important steps to better protect themselves.”
The mission of the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) is to help Australia to be the best place to start, grow and transform a business. We celebrate the vital and deeply personal commitment made by more than 2.3 million small and family businesses to our community. Since being established in 2016, the ASBFEO has helped more than 30,000 small businesses resolve disputes with other businesses or government agencies. We provide access to mental health support and tools to help people start and grow a business, and make better business decisions.www.asbfeo.gov.au
Each year IDCARE, Australia and New Zealand’s national support service for victims of cybercrime, scams and identity theft, supports over 100,000 engagements from across all parts of Australia from people who experience cybercrimes. “IDCARE’s data reflects that financial losses for the Australian community for the month of May alone totalled more than 35 million dollars. The impacts of these crimes and associated losses are wide reaching and individuals and small businesses both play a role in creating resilience in the community and reducing the harm experienced from these crimes.”
IDCARE’s Managing Director Dr David Lacey.
IDCARE.org is Australia and New Zealand’s one stop shop for identity and cyber security support. A not-for-profit Australian charity, IDCARE specialist services support individuals and small businesses confronting identity and cyber security concerns. The IDCARE Learning Centre is a key resource to learn how to prevent, detect and respond to identity and cyber security concerns and build confidence and resilience online. https://www.idcare.org/.