It seems the phone never stops ringing these days with conmen on the other end of the line, trying to part you from your hard earned through any manner of nefarious means. One of the most insidious forms of modern scammery, which has resulted in the loss of millions of pounds from both businesses and members of the public, is what is known as Mandate Fraud.
In essence, Mandate Fraud is when the scammer contacts the scam-ee with the intention of redirecting an existing standing order or Direct Debit. In the case where the victim is a business, the scammer will contact the victim and usually pretend to be one of their existing suppliers. They will then claim that they have set up a new bank and give a new account number and sort code for the victim to make their payments to. The first the victim finds out they’ve been scammed is when the ACTUAL supplier contacts them, wondering where their money is.
A variation of the same scam is often run on members of the public. In such cases, the con artist may pretend to be from a charity you make a monthly payment to, and will again say that due to a change in their bank, will give you a new account number and sort code into which you should make your monthly donations. This is a variation on the “Safe Account” scam, where the fraudster pertains to be from your bank, and advises you that because of a security breach, you have to transfer your funds into a new account.
Commenting on this type of fraud, PC Stuart Ritchie of the SCD Divert/Deter Team said, “Serious Organised Crime Groups are targeting organisations in the public, private and third sectors by assuming the identity of legitimate suppliers and requesting payments are made to a different bank account which is under their own control. This is known as bank mandate fraud.
"This tactic is frequently used by these groups as it carries low risk and potentially high rewards. There have been numerous high profile cases in Scotland over the past year resulting in millions of pounds being lost to Serious Organised Crime Groups. In response to this, the Specialist Crime Division, Divert and Deter Team, have produced a bank mandate fraud guidance document which will be distributed across the UK in association with the National Anti-Fraud Network.”
Remember: ALWAYS BE EXTREMELY WARY SHOULD ANYONE ASK YOU TO MAKE CHANGES TO ANY OF YOUR BANKING ARRANGEMENTS.
If in doubt, contact the bank, charity or business supplier in question on a separate number to check the validity of any requests. If you have been the victim of this or any type of scam, contact the police on 101, or report the incident to Action Fraud. You can also read more about Mandate Fraud and the help available on our Keep Safe pages.