Bevan Brittan LLP is aware of a new kind of fraud that is becoming prevalent in the marketplace. The fraud is relatively easy to operate and thus easy to avoid from the point of view of the victim.
A growing number of our clients have made us aware of this fraud. In this brief alert we set out the practical steps that can be followed to: (1) prevent you becoming a victim of this fraud; and (2) the steps that Bevan Brittan LLP can help your business to take once you become aware of this fraud.
In this alert we consider:
- What is the Fraud?
- How can you prevent becoming a victim of this type of fraud?
- What can you do as a victim of this type of fraud?
What is the Fraud?
The scam operates by the innocent recipient receiving an email or letter informing them that a particular supplier of theirs is changing their bank account details. The correspondence will almost certainly include the details of the new account. The letter/email will ask you to update your records accordingly with the consequence that future payments will be made to this account. The details are, of course, fraudulent with the consequence that monies are paid to the fraudster and not the supplier.
Some of our clients have received telephone calls prior to receiving the correspondence informing them of the change of details and that a letter will follow. The telephone call will be used by the fraudster so that they can ascertain:
- that they are sending the correspondence to the correct contact at your company and ideally to elicit a contact name and reference
- when you were last invoiced, to ensure that you still actively use this service and to find out likely date of next payment
- to use an excuse such as their systems are down.
How can you prevent becoming a victim of this type of fraud?
There are a number of basic steps that can make it extremely difficult for your company to become a victim of this type of fraud. Below we set out some measures that you and your staff should consider employing to ensure that you do not become a victim:
- Maintain a good relationship with existing suppliers
- Know your contacts and be able to liaise with them
- Always be wary of changing account details. If a request is received, confirm in writing and by telephone to the supplier
- If talking to this 'supplier' on the telephone beforehand, they may ask about when you last sent payments to them, looking to see if you are still an active client. Again, ask to speak to contacts that you recognise and if necessary ask your contact to call you back.
What can you do as a victim of this type of fraud?
Once you are a victim of this type of fraud then it is always prudent to first notify the Police.
You can also commence a civil recovery of these monies against the fraudster. It may also be necessary to use tracing proceedings to trace the identity of the fraudsters or even freezing injunctions to freeze their assets of the fraudsters. All of these tools can be utilised with the help of Bevan Brittan LLP to ensure a speedy recovery of stolen monies. Finally, check with your insurer to see if it is an insurable loss.
Bevan Brittan LLP has a great deal of experience in acting for companies who have been victims of fraud. Please contact Adam Finch on email firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone 0870 194 8986.