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04th Dec 2017

This Scam Has The Potential To Catch Out Every Worker In Ireland

Darragh Berry

Christmas time is so busy and everyone is in such a rush to get things done that often, the littlest thing can slip through the cracks. 

The same goes for anyone who is working. You may be trying to get everything wrapped up before the holidays but this is the time when you are most vulnerable and can become complacent about security. 

An Garda Síochána wishes to advise of the continuing existence of Invoice Redirect Fraud and urges businesses to remind employees to treat any request to change supplier bank account details with extreme caution. 

Losses amounting to over €700,000 have been reported to Gardaí in the last month.
Invoice Redirect Fraud targets businesses working with suppliers and those that regularly perform online financial transactions.

In the last month alone there have been numerous attempts at this type of fraud, with actual losses amounting to over €700,000. 

An Garda Síochána works very closely with the Financial Institution in this regard, who have intercepted many transactions of this nature. 

However, it can be difficult to recover funds once they have left the jurisdiction so prompt reporting is critical.

Here’s how this particular scam works: 

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 bank account details that ultimately benefit the criminals. These requests can also come by way of letter or phone call so caution should attach to any request of this nature.

The criminal’s intention is that when the legitimate supplier next sends an invoice to the company seeking payment for services rendered or goods supplied, the victim business acts on the new banking instructions and sends the payment to the criminal’s bank account where the funds are quickly transferred or withdrawn. In many instances the business does not know it is a victim of this crime until sometime later when the legitimate supplier sends a reminder invoice for payment.

Businesses must ensure that they have robust policies and procedures in place to deal with requests of this nature including escalating the decision making function to supervisory positions.

If this type of request comes in, it is advised that a suitable known contact person is identified before a business relationship commences with the supplier. 

Always verify contents of the email/letter/call and under no circumstances should these details be relied upon as verification no matter how factual they may seem. 

It is important to note that victims of Invoice Redirect Fraud 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.

Don’t get caught out, always double check and if it seems like it could be a scam, it more than likely is. 

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