Farmers losing thousands to invoice scammers

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Agricultural businesses are being warned to be vigilant following an increase in invoice redirection scams - costing businesses thousands of pounds.

NatWest has released a short educational video to raise awareness of the scam, which involves tricking clients into updating bank account details for regular suppliers.

The details are replaced with the scammer’s account which gets credited the next time the supplier is paid. The debt to the real supplier still stands, so the victim ends up having to pay twice.

Ian Burrow, head of agriculture and renewable energy at NatWest, said: “This is a very effective scam which can have devastating consequences. Victims typically lose about £30k, although some cases have involved significantly larger sums. So every business, however big or small, is a potential target.

“It is vital that any letters or emails that claim to come from your suppliers, and which ask you to change bank account details, are vetted.

“Call someone you know at the company using a number you know and trust, to ensure the instruction is genuine.”

The new video explains how fraudsters select their targets by referring to information in the public domain that confirms trading and supply-chain relationships.

It also shows examples of the fake instructions to help clients spot these scams.

Ian added: “Education and awareness are key in the fight against fraud.

“We encourage all those involved with keying and authorising payments to watch the new clip and to exercise extreme caution should they receive a request to update long-standing payment instructions.”

You can watch the video here: https://youtu.be/HsorbnMlvjg.

Information on other common scams affecting both the private and public sectors can be found at www.natwest.com/stopfraud.