I was talking to a bank manager recently, and he was telling me about a growing scam that businesses should be on guard against. Banks are seeing a rise in attempted (and successful) frauds against their customers from ‘over-payment refund’ scams.
Essentially, businesses are contacted by a new customer (usually from overseas, but not always) who agrees to buy goods and to pay upfront for the first invoice. A sum of money then arrives – usually by Bank Draft paid in at an away branch – and then the customer gets in contact to say that they have inadvertently paid too much and ask for the difference to be sent back. The accounts office checks the receipt of the funds, which will show as cleared quite quickly, remits the balance back to the beneficiary’s account details – and then the Draft is returned as fraudulent.
Significant amounts have been lost by this type of fraud, and several businesses have been put under great strain as a result.
The message is: understand who you are dealing with, make sure that any funds paid in are cleared – and leave a reasonable period of time before completing a transaction. If you receive too much, do not send it back until all due diligence has been completed. Your bank will help.
Please let me know or post a comment if you have any questions about this or if you have come across this or similar attempted frauds.