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Irish company conned out of €65k while trying to buy Covid-19 PPE manufacturing machine

The misdirected payment was returned to the Irish company’s bank account.

Image: Shutterstock/smolaw

AN IRISH COMPANY was scammed out of $74,000 (€65,000) by con artists who used a method called invoice redirect fraud to trick the firm into sending the money to an account controlled by the criminals. 

Gardaí in Waterford, with assistance from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) are investigating the incident whereby the company transferred the cash into a fraudulent account based in China.

The business had negotiated the purchase of a machine, to be used in the manufacture PPE equipment for the HSE, from a company based in China.

The Irish company carried out checks on the Chinese firm to make sure it was legitimate, which it was. 

A fraction of the price was then agreed to be transferred as a deposit from the Irish firm.

Gardaí said that it was at this point that the Irish firm received fraudulent emails, purporting to have come from the Chinese company, containing bank account details for the payment of the deposit.

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A total of $74,600 was then transferred to this fraudulent account.

The Irish company was notified of the transaction by their financial institution yesterday. The misdirected payment was returned to the Irish company’s bank account.

A garda spokesman said: “An Garda Síochána are asking all businesses to report any incidents of invoice redirect fraud to their local garda station and financial institution immediately, as fraudulent transactions of this nature can move very quickly and it is important that immediate efforts are made to stop the transactions being completed.

Even if the fraud has not been successful, it is possible that the bogus account is being used for other incidents of this nature and reporting it may prevent further incidents of fraud.

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