Businesses have been advised to have robust procedures in place to combat fraud in the run-up to Christmas.
Gardai have warned owners and employers that invoice redirect fraud – which targets firms that conduct much of their financial transactions online – can result in substantial losses.
There have been attempts to swindle over €1.3m from businesses through this scam in the last month alone, with actual losses to firms over that period measuring €700,000.
As companies are entering the busy seasonal time, gardai have reminded them to treat any request to change supplier bank account details with “extreme caution”.
Gardai have advised prompt reporting of any such activity as, while many transactions of this nature have been intercepted, it can be difficult to recover funds once they have left the jurisdiction.
Firms have been advised to ensure that there strict policies are adopted to deal with requests to change bank details, whether this involves the escalation of the decision to a supervisor or direct contact with a trusted known person at the supplier’s company.
How does it work?
Emails, letters and phone calls containing an instruction to change bank account details are sent to businesses by fraudsters purporting to be one of the firm’s legitimate suppliers
When the legitimate supplier next sends an invoice to the company (the victim), the funds are sent to the amended bank account (of the criminal) where the money is generally transferred or withdrawn immediately.
For the most part, the firms do not realise they are the victim of the crime until the real suppliers send a reminder invoice.