Fake invoice scams happen when someone requests that a business pays fake invoices for a product or service that you did not request.
How does the scam work?
The scammer will send an invoice for goods or services you haven’t requested, or for a fake service such as a trade directory. This could be a printed invoice that looks legitimate, or even an email that looks as it’s come from a legitimate business insisting that you’ve ordered the goods or services.
Often these scammers target the office administration or accounts functions of a business and will attempt to intimidate by threatening legal action. They may also request changes be made to the usual billing arrangements.
How can you avoid the scam?
- Be on the lookout for invoices for goods or services that you didn’t order or a call from someone claiming to be your regular supplier.
- Always confirm if goods or services have been requested and received before paying an invoice by using a purchase order number system or confirming with employees.
- Limit the number of people in your business who are authorised to make orders or pay invoices.
- If you notice a supplier’s usual bank account details have changed, call them to confirm that the invoice is legitimate.
- Make sure you call the supplier using the phone number you have on file, or look it up on their website or in the phone book.
- Don’t call the telephone number on the email or invoice, as this will likely be the scammers phone number.
- Immediately cut contact with scammers who attempt to bully or intimidate you.
- If the bank account looks like it’s an overseas bank account, or you have any suspicions about the payment details sent to you, investigate further.
If you’re unsure if something is a scam or not, call Netsafe for help and advice. Netsafe’s contact centre is open seven days a week.