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Irish punters scammed out of more than €10.5 million in 2020 as a result of email scam, Gardai reveal

Irish punters scammed out of more than €10.5 million in 2020 as a result of an email scam, Gardai reveal

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IRISH punters were scammed out more than €10.5 million in 2020 due to an email scam, Gardai have revealed.

Cops have urged people to be vigilant about the con, which sees fraudsters send an email to businesses pretending to be a supplier demanding payment.

Irish punters scammed out of more than €10.5 million in 2020 as a result of email scam, Gardai reveal
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Irish punters were scammed out more than €10.5 million in 2020 as a result of an email scam[/caption]

In some cases, email accounts are hacked, so the messages come from authentic accounts with scam artists stealing large pieces of data.

Victims of invoice redirect fraud range from tiny businesses to large corporations, and in most of these cases, the money gets transferred abroad.

The consequences of falling for a scam of this nature can be catastrophic for any business and result in the closure of businesses and redundancies.

The Gardai have urged that all relevant employees should receive training to avoid the scam.

Cops revealed an Irish firm that processed payment of more than €600,000 to purchase a product.

How to avoid the scam?

· Ensure staff take great care and attention each time they are asked to change bank account details. Check the IBAN – what country is it in. IBANs can be checked by doing a rapid google search. Check the URL and the spelling

· A phone call should be made to a representative of the company confirming that the bank account is changed and care needs to be taken to ensure that they are talking to a company representative and not the fraudster.

Under no circumstances should contact details in the email or attachments be relied upon to verify the request, whether these consist of a physical address, an email address, or a phone number.

· Verify email address is spelled correctly

· Has the URL been changed from “.ie” to “.com”?

· Businesses must ensure that they have robust policies and procedures to deal with this nature’s requests, including escalating the decision-making function to supervisory positions and making direct contact with a trusted known person in the supplier’s organization.

· Where a business becomes aware that such a crime has occurred, they should ask their bank immediately to do a recall on the money and then report the matter to Gardaí

· Segregation of duties  – Consider how your business issues and accepts payment instructions

· Use banking security systems, e.g., One Time Passcodes

· At the moment, many people are working from home, and some perform roles they don’t usually do.

They are also working from a more safe and secure environment and could be minding children simultaneously.

This could mean that they are not as wary as they would be in a work environment, and they do not have colleagues close by to confer with.

· It is also imperative that the staff isusesrivate computers/laptops for work purposes from their homes that the antivirus software is kept up to date.

· If a business becomes a victim, all existing business relationships should be reviewed without delay and defensive policies and procedures put in place

In many instances, the business does not know it is a victim of this crime until the legitimate supplier sends a reminder invoice for payment.

The funds left the firm’s bank account before they were redirected using a false / email request and were transferred into ‘money mule’ accounts in Ireland, The EU, and Hong Kong.

Financial Intelligence Units across these jurisdictions are working together, alongside Interpol Financial Crimes Department, to retrieve this crime proceeds. To date, over €330,000 has been recovered.

They also revealed in February 2020; a company received an expected invoice via email from a legitimate company as part of an ongoing business deal.

But the company’s email had been compromised, and the invoice subsequently proved to be false.

The invoice provided details of an Irish Bank account as the remittance bank for the payment transfer.

The Irish FIU at GNECB alerted the Irish Bank, and the account was frozen as a result.

The account holder was subsequently arrested.

And in January of this year, the Money Laundering Investigation UNIT was made aware of an Irish Businesses that transferred €137,800 to a financial institution in France.

MLIU, with assistance from the FIU in GNECB and French FIU, recovered all funds which were returned to the victim.