Further fraud alert on client payments to agencies
The IPA has become aware of a number of recent instances where fraudsters have contacted the accounts payable departments of agencies’ clients with letters that appear to come from the agency supposedly giving details of a change of bank details.
However, in practice, the letter is a forgery and the bank account details are those of the fraudster. This therefore means a fraud is perpetuated on the client company by a third party which the agency is not aware of until a request for settlement of invoices is met with the response that they have already been paid.
In light of this, the IPA is recommending its agencies take the following actions:
- Advise all clients of the recent increase in reported instances of this type of fraud.
- Advise clients to be especially vigilant and thoroughly check any correspondence regarding change of bank account details to establish whether it may be fraudulent.
- Request that clients ensure they have robust controls over processes to change bank account details, such as re-verifiying any requested changes to bank account details with a known senior contact at the agency / supplier organisation.
Additionally, agencies themselves should equally be aware of the risk of becoming victims of this type of fraud and carry out the checks outlined above.
IPA Finance Director Tom Lewis says: “We first made our members aware of this type of fraud last year, so hopefully robust processes have been put in place to address it. However, no-one can afford to be complacent and recent events indicate that agencies should look again at their own and their clients’ processes.”
Last updated 23/07/2014