Invoice Scams

Fraudsters can target small to medium sized businesses due to many reasons, but one way is to abuse common forms of payments or disbursements.

One type of scam is to trick a business into paying invoices to familiar names, but with the payee bank information changed. Here’s how it works:

  • Fraudster obtains details of previously paid vendors or consultants in a variety of ways (email takeover or published records)
  • A similar email address to what may have been previously seen from the consultant or vendor is created (maybe a slightly different spelling)
  • An invoice is created that is very similar to what you may have seen before, but with new banking details specified
  • The invoice is emailed from the new email account to your accounts payable person or department. This email may have some form of urgency indicating quick payment is required.
  • Your accounts payable person or department accidentally creates a payment for the fraudster, usually via wire payment method.

An easy way to defend against this issue is to carefully review all details of invoices, especially the specified method of payment and payee bank details. If this varies from what you have previously seen, contact the submitter using a previously recorded phone number in your records (not by email). Verify all the details of the invoice, especially the bank account information before you pay the requestor.

If you suspect you may have fallen for this scam, contact Associated’s Treasury Management Customer Care as soon as possible with all details of the issue.

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