Fraud Squad warns of payment scam targeting businesses

The police are urging businesspersons to increase their vigilance following numerous reports of merchants being defrauded of significant sums of money.

According to detectives from the constabulary’s Fraud Squad, people have been ordering goods from merchants and arranging to pay via direct deposits or cheques.

“The merchants, on most of these occasions, would contact their banks and receive confirmation that the money was deposited to their account. Once the merchants get confirmation, they usually deliver the goods ordered; in some cases, the cost of the goods amounts to millions of dollars. It is then discovered that the cheques were forged or the deposit receipts were fraudulently obtained,” the police informed.

In light of this, the lawmen are advising business operators to:

• Wait until the cheques deposited into their accounts are cleared through the banks, before delivering goods.
• When a bank receipt of deposit is submitted by the customer, double-check with the bank to confirm the details on these receipts.
• When enquiries are being made of the bank, include the following questions:
   – Was the deposit made using a cheque or cash?
   – What was the amount of deposit made?
   – Are there any holds on the funds deposited?

In addition, the police are urging businesspersons to always request identification details from customers, including (but not limited to): name, address, TRN, telephone number, delivery vehicle and a valid form of identification bearing the person’s photograph, such as passport, driver’s licence or voter’s ID.

It is also recommended that merchants also record the licence plate number of the delivery vehicle and a photocopy of the driver’s licence obtained.