Gardaí warn of fraud scam as Bank of Ireland customer loses €2.1m

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Gardaí are warning the public of fraud schemes as a Bank of Ireland customer recently lost €2.1m.

The scheme which is known as invoice redirect fraud is when a transfer of money gets redirected into a fraudster’s account.

An Garda Síochána are urging people to treat any request to change bank account details with extreme caution.

On August 11th, Bank of Ireland reported to the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) that a business customer of theirs had been the victim of an invoice redirect fraud and had lost just over €2.1m.

The Dublin based business was making a payment to a UK based company when they received an email pretending to be the UK company asking them to send the payment to a new account number.

The Irish business did their due diligence and contacted the number in the email and the person who answered the phone confirmed that all was correct.

The money was then sent to the new bank account which transpired to be in Hong Kong. The phone number contained in the email was also incorrect and the business was actually talking to the fraudster.

Hong Kong authorities

On receipt of the complaint from Bank of Ireland, GNECB immediately initiated enquiries with the Dublin business and with the bank in Hong Kong before seeking the assistance of the authorities in Hong Kong.

Following investigations conducted by the Police in Hong Kong on behalf of GNECB, the stolen money was secured in an account and the return of the money is being arranged.

Speaking about the incident, Detective Superintendent Michael Cryan said:

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

“It is important to note that victims of invoice redirect fraud range from very small businesses to large corporations and the consequences of falling for a scam of this nature can be catastrophic and can result in the closure of businesses and redundancies so all employees should receive training in relation to avoiding this type of scam.”

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