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Beware of payment interception scams with builders and suppliers

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In the building trade, large sums of money are transferred electronically and unfortunately, scammers see this as an opportunity to strike. We've received reports of payment interception or payment redirection scams, where consumers have received emails or phone calls claiming to be from their builder (or other contractor) requesting the payments be made to a different bank account.

These emails and calls were fake and some payments have been made into the accounts of scammers and consumers then have to attempt to recover the lost funds through their banks.

A more extreme case is when a builder's IT systems have been compromised and a scammer issues legitimate looking invoices from the builder with the new (fraudulent) bank account details.

SERVICE ONE's Head of Corporate Services, Kashif Cheema, provides the following advice to help combat these types of scams.

"To avoid sending money to the wrong accounts, many of our Members set up regular payees as Personal Payees. This means our Internet banking and mobile systems retain this information to make it easier to then make future payments to the same supplier. Anytime you receive an invoice or correspondence advising of updated bank details or you notice the bank details have suddenly changed for a builder or supplier you've had regular dealings with, the best thing to do is to contact your builder or supplier direct and confirm they have in fact changed their bank account details," Mr Cheema said.

If an IT system is compromised and has had malware installed on it, scammers can actually remotely access systems and monitor activity. This means they can become familiar with how a particular builder or supplier communicates with you, they understand when payments fall due and what the payments are for. It can all appear quite legitimate which is why it's so important to do your own checks before transferring large sums of money.

Find out more about these types of scams on the SCAMwatch website.

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