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'Companies are being targeted daily': Gardaí warn businesses to be vigilant of invoice frauds

Invoice redirect fraud is a crime targeting businesses working with suppliers and businesses that regularly perform online financial transactions.

Image: Tiko Aramyan via Shutterstock

GARDAÍ HAVE WARNED Irish companies, large and small, to be vigilant of invoice frauds.

The warning comes after a man in his 30s was charged in connection with an international money laundering operation involving over €1.1 million in funds earlier today.

Invoice redirect fraud is a crime targeting businesses working with suppliers and businesses that regularly perform online financial transactions.

In crimes of this nature, gardaí said criminals send emails to businesses purporting to be one of their legitimate suppliers. These emails contain an instruction to change the bank account details that the business has for a legitimate supplier to the bank account details that ultimately benefit the criminals.

These requests can also come by way of letter or phone call so businesses should be cautious to any request of this nature, gardaí said in a statement said.

When a business then receives an invoice from the legitimate supplier looking for payment, they will unwittingly pay it into the criminals’ bank account.

The funds will then quickly be transferred or withdrawn by the criminals.

In many instances, the business won’t even know it has been a victim of a crime until later when the legitimate supplier contacts them for not having paid the invoice.

Detective Chief Patrick Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said earlier today: “While all cases are different, we want to warn that all Irish companies big and small are being targeted on a daily basis by individuals purporting to being from their suppliers.

These individuals will inform the company that their bank details have changed for payment of service so we would ask that companies only change their bank details through direct contact and not by email.

“The best thing to do is pick up the phone and talk to someone you know in the company.”

Gardaí have advised businesses to ensure they have robust policies in place to deal with requests around changing bank accounts.

These include making sure there is a trusted and known person to deal with on the supplier side and to always make sure independent contact is sought following any request of this nature.

Gardaí said that victims of invoice redirect fraud can range from very small businesses to large corporations and the consequences of falling for a scam of this nature can be catastrophic and can result in the closure of businesses and redundancies, so all employees should receive training in relation to avoiding this type of scam.

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