A new guide for businesses highlighting the dangers of Covid-19 related scams, has been published by the Banking & Payments Federation Ireland, through its FraudSMART website.

BPFI CEO Brian Hayes said it is crucial that businesses heed the advice and warnings on fake website and fake supplier invoice scams. 

"We know that Europol and its operational partners have warned that over half of new website 'domains' which contain the word Covid-19 have been created for criminal purposes and we have also heard the warnings from Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau this morning," he said.

"In simple terms fraudsters are setting up fake websites which often mimic genuine websites and can be so convincing that it can be difficult to tell them apart. These websites take orders for goods which businesses pay for in good faith, but the money goes to the fraudster and the goods never arrive.."

The information guide for businesses sets out the various steps organisations can take to protect themselves from fake supplier scams. 

Key advice includes:

  • Only order goods from an authentic/legitimate source – do not to click on promotional embedded links in emails, instead use your browser to find your desired supplier and check their official website.
  • Thoroughly research any new supplier no matter how big or small your order might be. Check out whether their website has been reviewed online across different trusted sources which aggregate customer reviews.
  • Beware of lookalike domain spelling errors in emails and websites addresses. Just because an email contains legitimate logos does not mean that it is genuine. Replicated letterheads are also being used.
  • Check invoices thoroughly for any irregularities including misspellings and grammatical errors.
  • Never issue payment instructions on foot of an email alone. Make additional contact via telephone.
  • If you don't know the company or supplier and the offer is too good to be true, it's definitely a scam.
  • Consult with your colleagues even when you are working from home.