October 2, 2012 9.50 am This story is over 137 months old

Police warn businesses of payment divert fraud

Fraudsters: Police are warning businesses about the dangers of payment divert frauds in relation to paying contractors for their work.

Lincolnshire Police are working to make businesses more aware of payment divert fraud after a number of large cases in the county.

Payment divert fraud is the practise of fraudulently changing the bank account details of contractors, meaning invoices for services end up being paid into another account.

Usually, businesses or public bodies receive a letter or fax, pretending to be the contractor, asking to alter the banking arrangements.

These letters and faxes look like they might be legitimate due to a company logo and even supplier codes and invoice numbers.

However, if not thoroughly checked it can lead to large invoices being paid into a fraudster’s account — by the time anyone realises the mistake, the money has been withdrawn.

There have been two incidents since the beginning of the year in Lincolnshire, including the Lincolnshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust (LPFT).

The LPFT contacted the police after believing it had been scammed in this way for a sizable sum. Arrests were made and the enquiry is ongoing.

Public bodies are more likely to be scammed in this manner due to the law requiring them to publish spending details over certain amounts.

DS Ian Jarman, Head of Lincolnshire Police Economic Crime Unit, said: “Businesses should have robust measures in place to carry out checks when they receive a notification to change a contractor or supplier bank account details.

“These checks should be made directly to trusted persons of the contracted company, not just to who is named on the fax or e-mail.

“Otherwise you could be paying twice, once to the fraudster and then again to the supplier when the fraud is identified.

“Thankfully it is very rare that one of these frauds is successful, however Action Fraud should be contacted if you receive such communication.”

You can report fraud to the Action Fraud team on the website or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Source: Lincolnshire Police