A BANTRY business has been defrauded by a scam in which criminals provided the customer with ‘new’ bank details.
Gardaí in Bantry are currently investigating the invoice re-direct fraud after an offence occurred in the locality.
The gardaí have also issued a warning to members of the town’s business association, urging them to be vigilant.
A garda spokesperson said: ‘Some very astute business owners have been had by some equally astute but very devious criminals.’
The new crime trend is being perpetrated on business owners who deal with other companies online, or by phone.
They are being contacted by fraudsters, purporting to be from a company with whom they have already had dealings, who send, or submit, new bank details for the payment of goods or services.
The gardaí said the success of the scheme is predicated on the fact that the scammer has built up a rapport with the company through other fake contacts, so the call or email may not seem that unusual.
The problem only emerges weeks, or maybe even months later, when the customer sends the money off, only to find later that the real company is still chasing them for an unpaid invoice.
‘The money is gone, but the money is still owed,’ warned the garda spokesperson, who said thousands of euro can be lost this way.
To avoid getting caught, the garda spokesperson urged business people not to send payments in response to a phone call, email, or letter, providing ‘new’ bank details without first contacting the business directly, and confirming the payment details.