According to UK Finance, UK business lost a total of £93 million in 2018 to invoice fraud, with the average payment to fraudsters being £20,750. To help you avoid losing potentially thousands of pounds, we’ve put together a list of things that you can do to avoid invoice fraud.
Scrutinise all invoices
It’s extremely important for you to scrutinise all of the invoices that you receive. The differences between a false invoice and a real one will be subtle, but if you look closely, you should be able to identify a fake. Common indicators of a fake invoice include a different phone number or contact name for correspondence, a change in payment methods, changes in the amount to be invoiced, a new signature, blurred logos, the addition to bank details that didn’t appear previously and email addresses with small changes.
Listen to your instincts
This might seem trivial, but it is important to listen to your instincts when analysing invoices. If an invoice does not seem genuine, it is probably a good idea to take a closer look at it. In order to stay in control of your payments, try and be more confident when refusing payments or unexpected information requests so that you don’t end up making a mistake under pressure. It’s better to be safe than sorry!
Don’t click suspicious links
This is a general rule of thumb for using the internet, but in order to avoid invoice fraud, never click on the links that appear in an unexpected text or email. Fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated than ever and it is now incredibly easy to create email addresses that look genuine upon first glance, but if you look closely, you might notice that certain names or words in the address are spelt incorrectly.
Check on suppliers
Fake invoices are often issued under a legitimate name with a fake bank account number or email address or under a false business name. When you’re taking on a new supplier, it’s a good idea to do your research into their business to ensure that they are legitimate and to search for their business address on Google maps. If their address is a PO box or a residential address, this could indicate that they are committing fraud. Where possible, if your existing suppliers get in touch claiming that they are changing their bank account or address, contact them directly to make sure.
Conduct multiple-stage authorisation
If you have the staff capability, it’s a good idea to hold multiple people responsible for the authorisation of payments. You could give the department or person associated with the expenditure responsibility for authorising the payment. The more people you have on hand to check each invoice, the more likely it is that someone will spot something suspicious.
If you’re looking to take control of your company spending in a secure and safe manner, get in touch with our expert team at B4B Payments today.