Invoice Fraud – don’t get caught out
Invoice fraud often manifests itself when a legitimate supplier chases you for non-payment of an invoice. It’s at this point realisation hits that a criminal has posed as a regular supplier and somehow deceived your company or organisation into changing a supplier’s payment details. Fraudsters are adept at gleaning detailed information on the relationship between companies and their suppliers, which they then intelligently use to convince an unsuspecting victim into making payment changes. Multiple payments may then have been redirected before the deception is discovered, at which point recovery of funds is near impossible.
Any company, large or small, is vulnerable to invoice fraud, and vigilance from every member of staff is required to prevent becoming a victim. This can be worrying for many SME’s, as loosing even moderately sized sums has the potential to cripple a company. Simple steps to mitigate the risks are widely available e.g. Financial Fraud Action UK. Tip: if you do encounter any invoice fraud, report it to the authorities via:- https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/reporting-fraud-and-cyber-crime
Every year, approximately half of all SME’s will receive a suspicious invoice. With some sectors particularly vulnerable if the nature of their business requires constant change, which will provide criminals with even more opportunities to infiltrate a company’s invoice processes. We also live and work in an ever more digitised world, and Invoice Processing is no exception, with fraud prevention becoming more complex & challenging.
So, what can businesses do to protect themselves? The answer is huge, too huge for this blog article, which is just aimed at raising awareness of this ever-evolving threat. Hopefully extolling upon readers to stop and think for a moment - and review their invoicing processes. Most people already know the dos and don’ts of financial fraud, but as automation permeates deeper into business practises, companies need to be ever vigilant; and should regularly review and update their processes and systems, to check they are still fit for purpose
Business Processes need to be infallible, invoice workflows and approvals need to be flawless, whether manual, digitised, or automated. With the latest tools in place to assist, strict controls can be administered, in alignment with a company’s business processes, enabling staff to spot the signs of invoice fraud; before it’s too late..
At Zahara our Purchase Approval Platform has many sophisticated layers of control, starting at the user level, throughout the invoice process, that also includes multi-stepped, multi-conditional approvals, with flags to detect suspicious invoices. All configurable to specific client requirements; enabling business leaders to rest a little easier at night.