Derbyshire detectives have issued a warning to urge business owners to be on their guard against mandate fraudsters.
Mandate fraud takes place when fraudsters claim to be from an organisation or supplier that a business will regularly make payments to.
The fraudster will ask the business owner to change over the details of a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer mandate so that any funds are sent directly to them, rather than to the genuine supplier.
Detective Inspector Rob King, head of the Derbyshire Constabulary economic crime said: “Recently we have seen both attempts and substantive offences being committed. In one case last year we saw a company in Derbyshire fall victim to mandate fraud and lost in excess of £150,000.
“People often hear about frauds but think that it won’t happen to them. I would urge all business owners to be on their guard and not to underestimate the fraudster.
“These criminals are quite prepared to try a scam thousands of times, as a successful hit from the fraudster can see large amounts of money heading their way.
“Fortunately, there are some basic but effective housekeeping tips that I urge you to follow, such as ensuring that bills and financial documents are not left around for other to see and that details of standing orders and direct debits are properly and securely recorded.
“Always check your bank statements carefully and if anything looks suspicious, report it to your bank or financial institution straight away.”
Other crime prevention advice:
Always verify any changes to financial arrangements by contacting the company directly. Ensure that you use the established contact details that you already have on file so that you can be sure you are talking to the company concerned, and not potential fraudsters;
If you are concerned about the source of a call, ask the caller to give you a main switchboard number for you to be routed back to them. Alternatively, hang up and call them back using established contact details you have on file.
For information around frauds and scams visit the dedicated Stamp out Fraud in Derbyshire webpage at www.derbyshire.police.uk/stampoutfraud.
If you think that you have been a victim of this type of fraud call 101, the non-emergency for Derbyshire police. To report a fraud call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or visit www.actionfraud.police.uk.