It is important to always be alert to new scams. Below is our own experience of a recent attempt to defraud one of our Clients and our own company of just short of £9000.
We received 2 payments into our bank account, totalling just short of £9000. As we were not expecting these payments, we noted the name on the transfers and emailed and called the Client using details from our ticket database. We could not reach the Client on either. About 10 minutes later, we received a call from someone claiming to be the Client. As we had not dealt with the Client for nearly a year, he said he had in that time changed his mobile and email. He claimed to have paid the wrong payee and could we send the funds back to him. He was apologetic for the inconvenience. We asked him to supply his bank details so we could arrange the transfer back.
The details he supplied were for a mobile only bank. We finally managed to speak to our own bank, who confirmed the bank that sent the funds was major high street bank, and in particular, sent from a branch local to us. Our bank advised getting the Client to either provide the sort code and account number of the original bank or get their bank to claim the money back.
The customer rang 4 times chasing the payments over a period of 90 minutes, claiming he urgently needed to pay a couple of invoices. He gave excuses by email as to why the money should be paid using his new bank details. Whilst it all sounded fishy, we did not have any real proof it was a scam, just a feeling. A couple of hours later and before we had made the payments, we received a call from the real Client.
They rang on the number we had on file and sent an email from the one we also had on file. He advised he had been a victim of a scam, where a person purporting to be from the high street bank (and having cloned the bank number) advised him there has been a problem on his account with fraud. The caller walked our Client through security to gain access to his account. The caller did try to convince the Client by confirming the Clients details to him, although they provided an old email address which the Client queried. Once the caller got the “alleged issue” resolved and had access to the Client account, they applied for a loan in his name. As soon as the loan was credited to the account (within a couple of hours) the person arranged a transfer to a payee of the Clients, with the idea of then claiming wrong payee etc.
As we were a payee of the Clients, and with an internet presence, the scammer chose us to pay the money to, using the “wrong payee” as an excuse. As a reputable company, it is highly likely we are going to to sympathise with the Client and pay back the money.
This was a very elaborate and time consuming scam. Beware and pass on to your colleagues and friends.