Article by Eamonn Lanagan
As the community is becoming better aware of scammers, the scammers are becoming more sophisticated. We all now know not to trust a cold call asking for bank or credit card details and that the police are not on their way to arrest you if you don’t pay a tax bill in iTunes gift cards. However, scammers are now infiltrating what were once considered safe and genuine ways of doing business.
We are regularly hearing of people who have received an invoice from a new or known supplier for a genuine transaction, such as the purchase of a new machine. All of the regular signs of a scam check out: the email address is that of the supplier, the transaction is one that you are expecting to pay and the invoice looks the same as those which you have received previously. The only sign this was a scam was that the bank details had been changed. The recipients of these invoices paid them as expected only to find out when the invoice was overdue that a scammer had made off with their payment.
Sophisticated scammers are now able to hack into the email, change the invoice and leave no trace for the customer to pick up what has happened.
How to avoid the scam:
• Contact the supplier directly using a second, reliable mode of communication such as a known phone number to verify any request to change or provide new bank details. Do not use the number listed on the invoice as this may have also been manipulated.
• Consider a multi-person approval process for transactions over a certain dollar threshold with processes in place to ensure the business invoicing you, is the one you normally deal with.
• Prevent your IT systems from being compromised. Keep your IT security up to date by regularly patching your systems and running antivirus software, and have a good firewall to protect your data.
• Use eInvoicing – eInvoicing is a new standardised and secure way of exchanging invoices directly between suppliers’ and buyers’ software. Details on eInvoicing can be found in the Byfields resource centre in the article, “How to save time, reduce risk, and be paid quicker.”
With the continued threats and insecurity of email, Byfields offers a secure portal service, at no charge, allowing our clients to login to their own portal behind our firewall and securely access their data, rather than sending by email. Please talk to your Byfields accountant if you would like to take up this service.
Disclaimer: This content provides general information only, current at the time of production. Any advice in it has been prepared without taking into account your personal circumstances. You should seek professional advice.