|In the past year 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.
Australian businesses are losing more than $29 million annually as a result of media scams, with small and medium businesses bearing the brunt of the losses.
The Circulations Audit Board (CAB), who is hosting the upcoming Accountability in Ad Spend conference on 21 July, has identified the millions lost each month.
The $29 million loss is a conservative estimate, based on the complaints received from businesses who have been the victims of media scammers.
Don Jones, Assistant Commissioner, Compliance & Enforcement, NSW Fair Trading, will present at the conference on the techniques being used to scam businesses, and the kind of safeguards that can be put into place to protect business spend.
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 arent even aware theyve 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 dont exist, the risks for business are great.
Paul Dovas, CEO of the CAB, stressed that the scams were one more reason precious advertising dollars should only be spent with audited media.
Choosing media that is regularly audited is an essential step towards avoiding the scams, he said.
If the publication, website or event isn't audited, there is a serious risk that it isnt real and you could be wasting your marketing budgets.
Dovas also stressed the negative impact scamming is having on the whole media industry.
It is vital that we help businesses understand how to best spend the advertising money scams like these hurt everyone, as the victims are often turned off advertising anywhere due to their bad experience.
According to Don Jones, 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.
Jones will outline common scams and how to best avoid them at The Accountability in Ad Spend conference, at the Sydney Hilton on July 21. To book visit: http://www.auditbureau.org.au/conference_home.html