Business owners and property buyers warned about scam costing victims £2m

Business owners and people buying or selling properties are being warned about a type of fraud which has seen victims lose over £2million in six months

Saturday, 6th November 2021, 7:00 am

Payment Diversion Fraud, also known as Business Email Compromise, usually affects businesses and customers where electronic financial transactions are taking place.

Criminals will contact businesses or customers via email claiming to be from a company that the intended victim has dealings with. They will request a payment to be made often or tell the recipient of a change of bank account details.

Criminals will often create fake e-mail addresses which are very similar to genuine business or customer addressees and send over fake invoices to make it more believable. All of this leads to payments from businesses and customers directly into bank accounts controlled by the criminals.

Sign up to our daily Halifax Courier Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Detective Inspector Leanne Walker is from the Force’s Economic Crime Unit

The scams can have a significant impact on the victims – in West Yorkshire alone a total of £2,182,901 was lost between April 5 2021 and October 3 2021.

There were a total of 54 reported cases and the average loss was over £40,000.

Detective Inspector Leanne Walker is from the Force’s Economic Crime Unit said: “We treat all fraud very seriously and dealing with it is a strategic priority.

“As with many types of fraud there are the hidden victims - it is never a ‘victimless crime’. Businesses impacted financially can usually ill-afford such a loss and it can lead to people losing their jobs.

“The criminals will try various tactics to get money and can seem very convincing but as with many types of fraud, by knowing the risks and taking precautions you can make life much harder for them.”

Nationally, £143m was reported to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau between June 2020 and July 2021 and it is the third highest high harm fraud type by value.

* Support your Halifax Courier by becoming a digital subscriber. You will see 70 per cent fewer ads on stories, meaning faster load times and an overall enhanced user experience. Click here to subscribe