Fraud alert: payroll and invoicing scams on the rise

FraudSMART, the fraud awareness initiative of Banking & Payments Federation Ireland (BPFI), is warning Irish businesses to beware of increasing levels of payroll and invoicing scams which fraudsters will take advantage of in the busy lead into Christmas and year end.


A new payroll fraud scam is on the rise, with fraudsters targeting HR and payroll departments to defraud employee wages and salaries. By hacking or accessing the email account of an employee, fraudsters can send what appear to be genuine emails to HR or payroll department requesting that wages or salaries be paid into a new bank account. FraudSMART is urging businesses to verify all such emails with their employees verbally in advance of making any changes to payroll details.  


FraudSMART is also warning businesses to be extra vigilant to invoicing fraud scams which may take advantage of the hectic Christmas trading and year-end period. Invoice re-direction fraud sees businesses receive a request, usually by email, from a fraudster posing as one of their legitimate suppliers and advising that their bank accounts details have changed. Given the deadline and supply pressures which businesses are under at this time of year, employees may find themselves making changes to bank accounts details, without first checking by telephone with the suppliers. Invoice fraud emails play on appearing authentic and will mirror an email regularly received from a supplier, including logos and signoffs. If the business fails to check the source of the request all future payments from the business will unknowingly be sent to the fraudsters account. 


FraudSMART has issued the following advice in respect of these latest scams: 

  • Have a verification process in place before changing saved bank account details of your employees, suppliers or service providers. 

  • Verify the change by contacting the employee or a known contact of the supplier/service provider, use contact details held on record or a contact number on the supplier’s website. Do not to use the contact details on the email/letter requesting the change as these could be fraudulent. 

  • Inform employees of this fraud so they are alert to it and can avoid it. 

FraudSMART has developed an information booklet ‘Protect Your Business from Fraud’ aimed specifically at the business community. This brochure is available for download here


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