Stay alert

stay alert to financial fraud

In these difficult times it is not just the virus that we must stay alert to – criminals are at work.

For businesses:

The “Bounce Back” loans were incredibly easy to apply for.  They are government backed and lenders had to react quickly.  Consider an enterprising fraudster who approaches a car dealer to buy a luxury car.  Incredibly, he manages to get enough information out of the dealer to apply for a Bounce Back loan – in the name of the dealer’s company.  The car is sold, the cash goes into the dealer’s bank account and the happy customer drives his car away.  At a later stage, the dealer finds out his credit score has been affected and he is in debt to his bank.  Not a good situation to be in – but it has happened.

For charities:

Charities are prime targets for money launderers at the best of times. In the pandemic, normal channels for money laundering will have dried up so this could signal increased targeting of charities.  A charity might initially be approached by a criminal making a donation to the charity.  They later return to the charity asking for the donation to be repaid as they have “fallen on hard times”. Repayment is made, the job is done.

Charities are currently fighting for survival.  Most would be extremely grateful for some large donations and may not seek to question the source of the funds.  Charities should be on high alert for potential attacks.  Do you have procedures in place to challenge the source of unusual or large donations? If you would like a review Contact Chris for an informal discussion.

In general:

These are not the only ways that criminals have been stepping up in the pandemic.  I have seen many more phishing e-mails than normal, often coming from what looks to be a reputable source.  All have the slightly suspicious wording and the inevitable “link” to click on.  Stay alert.