Police Scotland have issued information on Mandate Fraud, a variation of the Safe Account scam, after an increase in reports.
In Mandate Fraud, the scammer contacts the victim with the intention of redirecting an existing standing order or Direct Debit.
Where the victim is a business, the scammer will usually pretend to be one of their existing suppliers, claiming that they have set up a new banking facility and providing a new account number and sort code for the victim to make their payments to.
The first the victim is aware of the scam is when the legitimate supplier contacts them looking for their outstanding payment.
A variation of the same scam is often run on members of the public, where the scammer may pretend to be from a charity they make a monthly payment to, and will again say that due to a change in their banking provisions, they have a new account number and sort code into which the victim should make their monthly donations.
This is a variation on the Safe Account scam, where the fraudster pretends to be from the individual’s bank and advises them that because of a security breach, their account has been compromised and they are required to transfer their funds into a new account.
As result of the recent increase in reports of Mandate Fraud, Police Scotland have released the following guidance tips:
- carefully check the sender’s e-mail address to identify if it exactly matches your own and trusted records
- regularly check your banking records or statements and report anything suspicious to your bank immediately
- “check it twice or pay the price”
- give out sensitive information over the phone, via email or in person to anyone you are unsure of. Fraudsters will piece together snippets of information from different sources to allow them to commit fraud; this is known as “elicitation”
- feel pressured to disclose information – the scammer may request the information as a matter of urgency, nothing is so time critical that it cannot wait until you have verified who you are dealing with
- use social media to disclose business arrangements, personal contacts and working relationships, as fraudsters may use such information to appear genuine
To report an incident of Mandate Fraud, or any other financial crime, please contact Police Scotland by phone: 101.
Alternatively, for further information, visit the Police Scotland website.