Gardaí warn employees of business email scams, nearly £6million stolen from Irish businesses in 2021

Gardaí have warned employees about fraudulent email payment requests as nearly €6 million was stolen from Ireland-based companies in 2021.

As part of Fraud Awareness Week, Gardaí is warning people in all business settings to be very careful when sending payments online, especially when asked to send money to “new bank account numbers”.

This figure shows a 48 percent decrease compared to 2020. The number of reports of business email compromise scams also decreased by 15 percent, from 330 to 281.

In most cases, money is sent abroad and victims range from very small businesses to large corporations.

At today’s briefing, Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau said no company is “immune” from this type of fraud.

“Victims of corporate email compromise scams range from very small businesses to large corporations. The consequences of falling for such a scam can be disastrous, even leading to business closures and layoffs,” said Superintendent Lordan.

“All employees should be aware of this scam and be trained to avoid this type of scam. When in doubt, delay the transfer and report any suspected fraud to Gardaí as soon as possible – early reporting can mean the difference between recovering most of the funds and very little.”

Business email compromise fraud, also known as invoice redirection fraud, occurs when a scammer sends an email to an individual or company pretending to be a supplier, asking for immediate payment of an invoice, usually to a new bank account because “they switched banks”.

They provide a new IBAN and BIC code for this new account and often the target person does not know they have been the victim of a crime until some time later when the legitimate provider sends a bill payment reminder.

To do this, scammers may send an email with a fake email address, an email that appears to be from a trusted source, or use malware to hijack a legitimate business email account and send an email from there.

Gardaí have advised employees to always be suspicious of requests to transfer money to a new bank account. Delay the transfer while you call the company to verify that the bank account has not changed to ensure you are not dealing with a scammer.

Anytime you’re asked to change bank account details in a system, check the location of the IBAN, via a Google search, check the URL and the spelling.

Gardaí is advising members of the public who believe they have been the victim of a business email compromise scam to contact any Garda station and report the crime. Gardaí warn employees of business email scams, nearly £6million stolen from Irish businesses in 2021

Fry Electronics Team

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