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Businesses Urged To Instigate Policy On Invoice Redirect Fraud

Det. Chief Supt. Patrick Lordan.

Gardaí continue to warn businesses regarding online scams, that has allowed fraudsters to attempt to embezzle more than €1.3m in “invoice redirect fraud”, over a mere two-month period.

On February 28th last, we posted news of the arrest of three men and two women, following a total of four searches; three in Co. Tipperary and one in Co. Dublin.

Detective Chief Superintendent Mr Patrick Lordan, Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) and a former Garda Superintendent here at Thurles Garda Station (2010 -2013), has highlighted the need for businesses to urgently instigate more “robust policies and procedures”, with regard to “Invoice Redirect Fraud”. This can be easily undertaken by making “direct contact” with a trusted individual within any organisation with which business is being conducted.

What is Invoice Redirect Fraud?

In crimes of this nature, criminals send emails to businesses purporting to be one of their legitimate suppliers. These emails contain an instruction to change the suppliers bank account details, that the business currently use. Payments then arrive to new bank accounts that ultimately benefit the criminals, and in the majority of instances, the business does not become aware it has been a victim of such crime, until the legitimate supplier sends a reminder invoice, seeking payment.

These requests from criminals can also come via written correspondence or by a phone call, so caution should attach to any such request of this nature, and business owners are urged to remind employees to treat any request to change supplier bank account details, with extreme caution.

Just one of the examples of such fraud being attempted was Meath Co. Council, who were deceived into handing over €4.3m to an online fraudster. Having acted quickly and made contact with Gardaí when this slip-up was realized, it became possible to recover all losses involved.

The five arrests we recently reported on, were made following a probe into a similar scam, which involved Dublin Zoo. Current NECB boss, Det. Chief Supt. Mr Pat Lordan has stated: “Invoice redirect fraud is a major problem around the world and we are also targeting the crime gangs who are sending money to Ireland.”

The scam is being targeted by the Money Laundering Investigation Unit (MLIU) of the Garda Economic Crime Bureau, who work very closely with financial institution in this regard.


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