Gardaí are warning the business community of invoice redirect fraud and CEO fraud following an increase in these cybercrimes.
Cybercriminals have succeeded in defrauding companies of large sums of money. It is reported that one company lost over €200,000 and another lost almost €500,000, while many individuals and other businesses have lost smaller sums of money.
These types of cybercrimes consist of criminals sending emails to businesses or individuals purporting to be one of their legitimate suppliers.
Emails such as these, generally contain a request to change the bank account details that the business has stored for a legitimate supplier to an account that these cybercriminals have created.
Requests don’t have to come in the form of an email either, they can come by way of a phone call or letter. Due to this, Gardaí are recommending that businesses take caution in relation to these requests.
The goal of these cybercriminals is that when the legitimate supplier sends an invoice to your business seeking payment, the victim business acts on the new banking instructions, which sends payment to the criminal’s bank account where the funds are then transferred or withdrawn.
Most of the time, the victim business does not know it is a victim, until a time in the future when the legitimate supplier sends a reminder for payment.
CEO fraud is another cybercrime that Gardaí are warning businesses about. This crime takes place when an email appearing to be from the CEO or a senior member of staff is sent to a business’ finance team, requesting they pay a supplier or third party.
Gardaí have issued the following statement:
“Trust no email full stop. Incoming and outgoing mails can be blocked or redirected without you being aware. Assume all emails incoming and outgoing in your company are always being read by fraudsters for extended periods of time and that those responsible for payments within your company are a special target for hackers and their email history is being monitored.
Check all incoming email addresses – that they are correct and coming from a trusted source. It’s important also to check other emails addresses copied on the mail chain, in order to check that they are also genuine. The hackers, by blocking others on the mail chain, isolate the individual making the payment, thus removing any other stakeholder from questioning the payment process. Simple changes such as swapping, adding or deleting letters in a mail address are commonly used to fool you into thinking it’s coming from a genuine source.”
A telltale sign of this cybercrime is a payment change request. Businesses should be especially vigilant when they are requested to change bank payment details. For example, amounts to be paid, account number, name of the bank, etc.
It is advised that employees call suppliers/vendors to confirm the change request before acting upon it.
Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan, from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau, said: “Victims of invoice redirect fraud range from very small businesses to large companies and the consequences of falling for a scam of this nature can be catastrophic and result in the closure of businesses and redundancies.’
He continued, “If you are not sure, pick up the phone and speak to someone in the invoicing company”.