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Businesses lose £93m to invoice scams in 2018

Tuesday 26th March, 2019

According to research by banking trade body UK Finance over four in ten businesses in the UK are unaware of the risks posed by invoice fraud, despite these scams costing firms almost £93 million in 2018.

Invoice scams take place when fraudsters trick businesses into transferring money by posing as legitimate payees. £92.7 million was lost by businesses to such scams in 2018, according to UK Finance’s latest Fraud the Facts 2018 report.

There were 3,280 invoice and mandate scam cases involving businesses over the year, with an average loss per case of over £28,000. £29.6 million of the money lost to this type of fraud was returned to business customers.

Separate research from UK Finance’s Business Payments Survey has found that over four in ten (43 per cent) businesses were unaware of the existence of invoice fraud. The survey of 1,500 firms across the UK found that Over half (55 per cent) of sole traders were aware of the threat of invoice fraud compared to two-thirds (68 per cent) of small business and over four in five (84 per cent) large businesses.

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime at UK Finance, said: “Invoice fraud could happen to businesses of all sizes. It’s vital that all employees are trained to identify potentially fraudulent transactions and follow the advice of our Take Five to Stop Fraud campaign.”

“The gangs behind this type of fraud are increasingly sophisticated and will often get hold of details that allow them to pose convincingly as regular suppliers.”

“If someone contacts you asking for a supplier’s bank account details to be changed, always verify with that supplier separately on the phone or in person, using the contact details you have on file.”

“If you suspect you’ve fallen victim to fraud, contact your bank immediately and report it to Action Fraud.”