Aussie Multi-Millionaire Hit by BEC Scam

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One of Australia’s richest men has suffered a $1m loss after his assistant was taken in by a classic Business Email Compromise (BEC) scam, it emerged last week.

Twynam Agricultural Group founder, John Kahlbetzer, is said to have a net worth in the region of $950m.

Scammers emailed his assistant Christine Campbell from an address one character removed from his pretending to be the 87-year-old, according to reports.

They requested the sum of $1m be transferred to the account of a British man, David Aldridge, a London court heard.

Although Kahlbetzer is suing Aldridge to return the funds, the latter claims he is also being “unwittingly used” by the scammers.

It’s claimed he transferred £61,538 ($82,600) of the funds into another of his personal accounts and most of the rest into accounts in the US, Hong Kong, UK, the United Arab Emirates, Ghana and Nigeria.

However, Aldridge claims he was doing so on behalf of his ‘girlfriend’ Nancy Jones, who told him it was to pay death duties on her parents’ estate.

Kahlbetzer’s lawyers say he’s never met Jones over the four years of their relationship and has no proof of her existence.

They also claim that he’s been a victim of romance scams before, having paid money to fraudsters posing as a Dutch woman.

BEC scams are on the rise, having grown by 50% in the past quarter alone, seven-times more than email-borne malware, according to Mimecast cyber resilience expert, Steve Malone.

“Often overlooked by information security providers, impersonation attacks are an easy and effective way to gain trust through a combination of social engineering and technical means,” he added.

“The only way to remain safe is to be cyber resilient. Businesses must help employees with role-specific behavioral conditioning and smarter email security technologies, to ensure they are vigilant and well equipped to report unusual activity.”

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