Gardaí are warning people to be aware of invoice fraud after two companies lost over €700,000.
Investigators say there has been a notable increase in this type of crime in recent weeks.
They say criminals send emails to businesses purporting to be one of their legitimate suppliers, requesting to change bank details to accounts which are controlled by the criminals.
When money is transferred, it is quickly withdrawn.
Gardaí say the business owner often does not find out until the official supplier sends a reminder for payment. The requests to change bak details are sometimes also made by phone call. Gardaí say any and all requests to change bank details should be treated with caution.
In a warning issued this morning, gardaí said one company had lost almost €500,000 as a result of the fraud, with another losing more than €200,000. They said many people and businesses had lost smaller amounts of money.
A business man who recently fell victim to the scam provided some advice to avoid the same trap:
- "Trust no email full stop. Incoming and outgoing Mails can be blocked or redirected without you being aware. Assume all emails incoming and outgoing in your company are always being read by fraudsters for extended periods of time and that those responsible for payments within your company are a special target for Hackers and their email history is being monitored.
- "Check all incoming email addresses- that they are correct and coming from a trusted source, its important also to check other emails addresses copied on the mail chain, in order to check that they are also genuine. The Hackers by blocking others on the mail chain isolates the individual making the payment-thus removing any other stakeholder from questioning the payment process. Simple changes such as swopping, adding or deleting letters in a mail address are commonly used to fool you into thinking it’s coming from a genuine source.
- "Change Requests are a Red Letter Warning. Be especially vigilant for any requested changes of bank payment details, for example, amounts to be paid, account number, name of bank etc.
- "Always pick up the Phone to your Supplier/Vendor to verbally confirm the change request details."