Over recent weeks a financial scam aimed at businesses has become more prevalent. It is highly targeted and appears plausible, with some research possibly being performed prior to sending the email or making the call, such as calling the office to gather contact details.
The scammers request accounts staff urgently raise a payment, such as a same-day Chaps transfer. This request may arrive by email or phone and will purport to come from a senior member of staff. The sender may try to justify the urgency of the payment by providing a brief reason.
It is therefore recommended that payment procedures are reiterated to the relevant employees and rigidly followed, and all staff are warned about the possibility of scammers contacting the company to garner information.
Any such requests for payment should be checked with the apparent sender using previously known contact details and not those provided in the email or call.
It is also worth being reminded of another scam that has been reported. This is where a company is contacted by a scammer claiming to be one of their suppliers and advising them of a change to their bank details. Future payments are then innocently made to the fraudster’s bank with the problem only coming to light when the legitimate supplier chases for payment.
Both these frauds prey on the unwary, or those that may be too busy to perform normal checks (by being contacted, for example, when end-of-month processes create extra work). Vigilance is the best means of defence, as some fraudsters are very adept at phrasing emails and letters in such a way as to appear convincing and for some emails to avoid anti-spam filters.
In all instances, carrying out extra checks will take only several minutes but could save thousands of pounds.
We appreciate this subject is not in the area of IT Support, but due to the importance, it is worth mentioning.