Sheffield house hunters warned about scam that has stung people for thousands of pounds
The UK’s national centre for economic fraud and cyber crime has issued a warning to Sheffield home buyers and businesses about a scam that could cost them thousands of pounds.
The National Economic Crime Centre has warned Sheffield residents of payment diversion fraud and what they should look out for to avoid being a victim of the scam.
PDF, also known as Business Email Compromise or Mandate Fraud, involves criminals impersonating others, creating or amending invoices and diverting payments to bank accounts under their own control.
This year there have been 4,600 cases reported to Action Fraud, with individual losses averaging around £30,000.
Jon Shilland, fraud threat lead at the NECC, said: “Payment diversion fraud is increasing, and it is vital that people are alive to the threat. Small and medium-sized businesses are most at risk due to less comprehensive IT security, but these criminals will also target home-buyers due to the scale of the transactions.
“Whenever you are making a payment to a supplier or to your solicitor in the case of a house purchase, you should be highly suspicious of any change in account details or new instructions. Always check with a trusted known contact, and if you have any doubt, do not transfer the money.”
What should I look out for to avoid being scammed?
According to The National Economic Crime Centre, these are the red flags of Payment Diversion Fraud that people should look out for:
Have you been asked to urgently process a payment that is large or unusual?
Have you been asked to change the bank details of an existing supplier or to set up a new supplier?
Is the language used in the email inconsistent with that of the genuine sender?
Does the body of the email or email address contain spelling mistakes?
If you have any doubt about the transaction, then do not transfer the money.
Businesses and home-buyers are advised to protect themselves by double-checking the payment request via an additional method using details from another source such as text message, a phone call or in-person.
If you think you may have already been a victim of payment diversion fraud, immediately report the incident to your bank and Action Fraud via 0300 1234 2040 or www.actionfraud.police.uk