16th December 2013
Amber alert issued after contractors conned
The National Crime Agency has issued an amber alert to the contracting industry following 34 reports of mandate fraud that saw contractors conned out of millions of pounds. They have warned contractors to be wary of criminals posing as suppliers or subcontractors and have offered helpful advice as well as a checklist to help prevent mandate fraud, as the reports have steadily increased over the last year.
It has been reported that criminals will get in touch with contractors, posing as suppliers or subcontractors, and tell the company that their bank details have changed in an attempt to divert payments into a fake account, leaving the legitimate contractor out of pocket. The majority of victims of mandate fraud are in the construction industry, many of them large civil engineering contractors, and have been approached by such criminals in a number of ways. 56% of companies were contacted via email, while 21% were contacted via telephone.
The agency has warned that letters will seem genuine and could even be printed on company headed paper. They will often use the wording ‘these amendments should take place immediately’, but no singular bank is preferred for the change of account details, making it more difficult to identify fraudulent letters from genuine ones related to the same subjects. The National Crime Agency has suggested in its checklist that companies should ensure all financial paperwork is shredded to avoid theft of the company identity and bank details, and to employ due diligence checks. If any changes to account details or payment methods are suggested, contact the contractor or supplier first directly in a separate call using details you know to be correct, perhaps with a pre-arranged point of contact. Additionally, they have suggested means of ensuring safety online, including regularly checking accounts and changing passwords, as well as building more secure computer networks.
As the construction industry is once again enjoying growing a steady pace, the last thing your company needs is to fall victim to mandate fraud. With the support of automated construction accounting software, companies may be better equipped to meet those security procedures outlined above. Integrity’s software can provide you with a full accounts package that enables you to manage job costing and payroll in one place without having to print off valuable information. You can contact your suppliers and contractors electronically, making it difficult for criminals to intervene and easier for you to spot when they do. To find out more about how you can benefit from Integrity Construction software, contact the team today.
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