THE RISE AND RISE OF INVOICE FRAUD
In our current digital age, online safety and security has become a real concern for both business owners and workers of all walks of life as attacks on information and identity theft continue to be a prevalent issue. Recently, online fraud has become more of an issue for business internet users as it was revealed that a number of fraud complaints utilising invoice redirect schemes have been registered with Gardaí. 18 of these complaints have been registered within the last year. These schemes have come to light due to a Chinese-based attack on Ryanair’s finances which almost lead to a loss in excess of €4million. It was reported that in one of the most recent cases, Gardaí managed to stop the fraudulent transfer of more than €2 million into a UK bank account. With potential losses like this, it is vital to maintain vigilance online.
These invoice redirect schemes direct requests to business owners and traders, these requests appear to be genuine and to be from trusted suppliers or providers to the business or trader. The request suggests that the beneficiary’s bank details have been changed, duping the business owner into changing their known banking details and resulting in any funds due to be paid to suppliers, being transferred to this fraudulent account. Once the invoices or requests are received, business owners or administrators generally forward the information to their accounts or finance department for payment, meaning that the transfer to fraudulent accounts is almost seamless in this instance. These fraudulent requests and invoices may be almost indistinguishable from the norm as the criminals behind the schemes have been known to match their auditor’s details to information which is easily accessible through the CRO.
Following these complaints and issues, the Garda Bureau of Fraud Investigation have issued an alert specifically targeting this form of fraud and identifying the inherent issues with these invoice redirect fraud schemes, which carry such weighty financial damage potential for businesses across the country.
“A number of Irish organisations and businesses have been targeted in the recent past. This advice is targeted at all entities that are involved in paying invoices or requested to transfer funds to any new bank account, be it within Ireland or elsewhere.”
It is advisable when any notice to change payment details is received, to review current payment change protocols in place with the supplier, and also to contact the supplier directly to verify the source of the email. If you have any concerns at all, it is vital to check with the supplier before any changes to bank details are made.
Should you have any other financial or business concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us here at DCA Accountants, where we will be happy to help in any way possible.
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~ DCA PARTNERS, DECLAN DOLAN & EAMONN GARVEY