GMP issues fraud advice on scam which targets businesses and house buyers

Date published: 30 October 2021

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) are warning the public of a prolific scam which can see businesses and those buying or selling property as the most vulnerable to falling victim.

Payment Diversion Fraud (PDF) is the third highest fraud type in the UK and involves the fraudster contacting the victim via email, claiming to be from a company that the victim will have been dealing with or getting a service from. The fraudster will then request a payment from the victim or tell them that the company they are pretending to be from has changed bank details and give the details for future payments to be made to.

Fraudsters will often target businesses, sending invoices claiming to be from a real company but changing the payment details to their own account. They may also pretend to be an employee of the company claiming that payment details for their salary have changed, but again giving the fraudsters own bank account information.

Members of the public can also be caught out by a PDF known as conveyancing fraud. In this scam, which targets house buyers, the fraudsters will masquerade as the victim’s solicitor and demand payments for fees.

With the increase in business activity due to Covid-19 restrictions being lifted, it is expected that incidents of this type of fraud will continue to rise.

GMP has shared key advice on how to avoid falling victim:

  1. Stop – take a moment to think to make all the checks you need before parting with any money and never feel pressured or rushed into doing anything.
  2. Challenge – feel confident in asking questions to determine whether someone really is who they say they are.
  3. Protect – contact your bank immediately if you think you’ve fallen for a scam, don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed - you are not alone. You can report payment diversion fraud to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Detective Superintendent Estelle Mathieson, Head of GMP’s Economic Crime and Cyber Unit, said: “The impact of fraud can never be underestimated. Victims can lose large amounts of their hard-earned money and it can have devastating knock-on effects for businesses.

“I urge the public to remember the three easy steps whenever they are asked to part with money or personal information – take your time, don’t be afraid to ask questions and if you suspect something, report it.

“Anyone who suspects they have been a victim of fraud to report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040. You can also follow the @gmpfraud Twitter account to up-to-date with information on scams.”

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