How the scam works:
Businesses being scammed is as old as business itself. But in this age of many small business owners struggling to stay afloat, being vigilant about avoiding these schemes is more important than ever before. An old scam with a new twist is making the rounds, so business owners beware.
The scammers will assume the identity of a supplier and will send an email or a letter with realistic yet fake letterhead, informing the business of a change in their banking details. They will provide the new banking details, which are linked to an account that they control. Using this fraudulent banking information the business is conned into paying money directly into the scammers account.
The scammers are treading old water with this scheme, but there is a disturbingly sophisticated twist; when the business owner tries to verify the banking change information they are routed to another member of the scammers’ group, who will then authenticate the fraudulent banking details for the business owner.
How to avoid:
The first step is to not act too quickly when a change notification is required. Many business owners will do so in the hopes that they will stay in good standing with the supplier. But it is vital to make sure, through various methods that you are indeed communicating with the actual supplier. Go to an independent source (not a source provided in the email or written correspondence) to get contact information for the supplier; use this contact information to make the verification.
It is also important for business owners to train all of their staff to recognize these scams and to not be taken by them. Paying attention to detail, such as small tweaks in email addresses or other contact details, is also something that can protect your assets. Never throw away letterhead communications from suppliers; going through your trash is an easy way to get information regarding with whom you do business. Always shred these letters or invoices. Also, never communicate your own banking information over the internet and take pains to ensure that your company’s personal information is not disclosed to third-parties which have no reason to have access to the details.
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