When a supplier asks you to change their banking details, take care – it could be a scam. Always confirm changed banking details by email with a person you know at the organisation before making any payments.
Call them on the number you normally use. The number on the email sent to you could be the fraudster’s.
How it works
Victim: “I’ve just been scammed and lost everything!”
Friend: “What happened?”
Victim: “I got an email from my biggest supplier saying their banking details have changed. The invoice also contained their new banking details. So I changed their banking details on my internet banking and made the payment, on time, as I always do. But after paying the invoice, I got a call from my supplier saying my account has not been paid and has been blocked.”
Friend: “Why, what happened?”
Victim: “Turns out it wasn’t my supplier who sent the email and invoice with new banking details, it was a fraudster. I paid the money into a fraudster’s account and now the money is gone!”
How fraudsters trick you into using fraudulent banking
- Fraudsters hack the email account of a business, change the banking details on their invoices, and send these to all their debtors to make payments into their own account.
- They intercept an email you’re meant to receive, change the banking details on the email or invoice, causing you to make the payment into a fraudster’s account.
- They create fraudulent business letterheads or fax headers asking you to make future payments into their new account.
- If you receive banking details by email for a once-off payment, always confirm the banking details over the phone before making a payment.
- Beware of near identical email addresses. They may add a full stop, replace a letter or the email may end with .com instead of .co.za
- Hover over the email address to make sure the response email address is the same as the email address of the sender.
- Use bank-defined beneficiaries on your Online Banking profile.
- Check all documents for spelling mistakes, errors, and suspicious changes.
- As a business owner, you could protect yourself by not placing your banking details on your invoices but rather providing them over the phone.