Accountants foil fraudsters

14th Jun 2021
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Covid-19 has had a huge effect on the way we spend money and communicate with vendors and clients. Unfortunately, this change has also resulted in a rise in financial crime. The delivery text scam is the latest in a series of scams that takes advantage of the shifting covid landscape to dupe us out of our money. Scammers send a text message purporting to be from a delivery company saying that you owe money before your package can be delivered. All you need to do is click a link and pay a small charge, but when you pay that fee the fraudsters grab your personal information to open financial accounts or initiate more elaborate and costly scams. If they catch you at the wrong time, it’s easy to fall for these and other scams, but there are things you can you do to protect your business and clients. Be aware of scams like invoice fraud that target businesses and their clients, take a moment to confirm that payment requests are authentic, report all suspected scams, and request payments from clients using a secure payment app like Ordo.

Watch out for invoice fraud

While the delivery text scam targets consumers who purchase on the internet, there are a host of scams focused on businesses and their clients, one of the main ones being invoice fraud. Invoice fraud takes advantage of businesses that send invoices by email. It can occur in two ways, either a scammer can impersonate a business and deceive a client into paying a phoney invoice or they can intercept an email and change the account number on a real invoice, ensuring the client will pay them instead of the legitimate business. In both scenarios, the scammer gets the money, the client pays the wrong person, and the legitimate business’s reputation is tarnished. When you send invoices by email you are making your business and your clients vulnerable to this type of fraud. The best way to avoid this scam is by delivering your invoices through a secure payment service. Your invoices won’t be open to hacking, which protects both you and your client. 

Take a breath and confirm

There are lots of tools in the scam artist’s toolkit, but one of the most useful is the sense of urgency. You might have noticed that many scams involve late payments or threats to disconnect accounts or return deliveries. Fraudsters know that you’re more likely to fall for their schemes if they make you rush a decision by creating a time-sensitive situation. Additionally, the business landscape has changed enormously in the past year. Many businesses are applying for financial assistance, employees are working remotely, business addresses are changing – all of this upheaval creates a confusing atmosphere that scam artists are ready to exploit. 

 

With all this in mind, make sure to scrutinise any texts, emails, or phone calls you receive that request payment or offer financial assistance. Don’t feel rushed into making a costly mistake.

  1. Surprise payment requests - If you get an unforeseen and urgent payment request from a vendor take a breath and determine the validity of the request. Call the company directly and confirm the details of the request.
  2. Too good to be true financial assistance - If you receive an email purporting to offer government financial assistance, check up on the official British Business Banks website to see if the lender is accredited before clicking on any links in the email.
  3. Urgent IT help - If you get an unexpected call claiming to be from your internet provider or computer technician asking you for sensitive computer information hang up and call back on a confirmed phone number to determine if the request is real. 

Report scams

If the worst does happen and you fall for a scam you may feel embarrassed and foolish. Reporting the scam might be the last thing you want to do, but by alerting your bank and email or mobile provider you increase your chances of getting reimbursed and you help ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to someone else. Even if you don’t get sucked into a scam, it’s good practice to report it. Forward suspicious emails to [email protected] and text messages to 7726. Furthermore, if an email or text purports to be from your bank or another business, make sure to let the business know about the scam so they can warn their other customers.

Choose a secure payment service

One easy way to protect you and your clients from financial scams is to use a secure payment service like Ordo. Ordo is a simple, inexpensive, and safe request for payment service. You only need your client’s mobile phone number or email address to request payment. There is no exchange of bank information, so account numbers and sort codes are kept safe and hidden. Invoices can be securely attached to each payment request meaning they can’t be intercepted or manipulated by scammers.  In addition to being secure, Ordo is also easy to use and compatible with your accounting software. Ordo is the official payments Open Banking partner with Sage and is available in the Sage marketplace. It is also compatible with Xero and Quickbooks, saving you time on reconciliation. Arrange a demonstration today to find out how you can sidestep scammers with Ordo.

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