With the Christmas season approaching, businesses need to be on the alert as fraud tends to be rife. Last month the Mercury and Pretoria News published an article, alerting businesses of an old scam making its rounds again:

Old scam aimed at Businesses

The Mercury – October 18 2012

Sharika Regchand

BUSINESSES beware! The change-of-bank-account scam has made a comeback and unsuspecting companies could be duped into paying hundreds of thousands of Rands to fraudsters instead of their suppliers.

The SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) warned yesterday that scammers usually assumed the identity of a supplier and sent a letter or e-mail to the targeted company saying that the supplier’s banking details had changed.

The new account details were controlled by the fraudsters.

Sabric chief executive Kalyani Pillay said the old scam was resurfacing and businesses were still falling victim.

To make the scam seem authentic, Pillay said, the fraudsters arranged to verify changes in banking details when contacted by companies.

“Businesses are urged not to act in haste when receiving notification for change in banking details from their suppliers unless they are certain of the legitimacy of the notice “even when pressurised to do so”, he said.

“Always ensure that you satisfy yourself that it is indeed your supplier that you are liaising with,” Pillay said.

Where feasible, staff dealing with suppliers should establish relationships with individuals in the supplier’s office to easily confirm these types of requests.

Some tips to curb this type of fraud are:

  • Verify every single notice of changes in banking details.
  • Beware of supposedly confirmatory e-mails from almost identical e-mail addresses, such as com instead of co.za, or addresses that differ from the genuine ones.
  • Make sure that you are certain of the identity of the person your business is dealing with at all times.
  • Do not throw away business (or suppliers’) invoices or any communication that contains letterheads. Always shred them.
  • Verify any request for information with the supplier over the telephone, ideally with someone you know and have known for some time.
  • Confirm notification of any changes of banking details through official correspondence with your suppliers (such as a letter) using their contact details that you have in your data base.
  • Do not publish your bank account details on the internet,
  • Ensure that your company’s private information is not disclosed to third parties who are not entitled to receive it, or third parties whose identities cannot be suitably verified.

Article can also be viewed on IOL – http://www.iol.co.za/pretoria-news/businesses-targeted-by-scammers-1.1405956#.UKo3aOI7Tfw.email