personal finance

Surge in fake bill scams – Bank issues warning to be vigilant

A rising trend involving scammers sending out fake invoices in the hope they will be paid has been identified by Barclays.

Details have been revealed in a new scams bulletin from the bank which said the average value of each fake bill is £8,600.

Kirsty Adams, Fraud & Scams Expert at Barclays, said: “Invoice scams are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

“Scammers target suppliers, creating fake emails requesting invoice payments that can look seriously legitimate.”

She said ordinary consumers as well as businesses are being targeted.

“People might imagine that invoice scammers solely target those working in finance, but it’s important for everyone to stay vigilant – particularly as we approach the summer when consumers might be settling big invoices for events such as weddings and parties,’ she said.

“It can be devastating to have a life event ruined by a heartless scam.”

She added: “It is always worth double-checking invoice and payment details against a previous invoice and if in any doubt, verify the details or amount with a known contact from the business over the phone.”

Barclays also identified other scams to look out for:

Smishing scams on text and messaging apps

Smishing, which is the fraudulent use of SMS text messages to trick targets into clicking malicious links or handing over private information, continues to be a widely-used tactic for lower-value scams

Kirsty Adams said: “Social media platforms are the number one source of scams, however, our data shows that scammers are frequently targeting victims via text message too.

“There’s a risk people will assume that because someone has their number, they’re getting in touch with a genuine request.

“Family and friend impersonation scams, where a scammer pretends to be someone you know in order to get you to transfer money at a moment in need, have become worryingly commonplace.

“Scammers also use mobiles to target victims with investment and advance fee scams – where those targeted are duped into paying an upfront fee and for a service or product that doesn’t arrive.

“We’re warning everyone to stay alert and do their due diligence before communicating with any new number.”

Police and bank Impersonation scams

Those aged 70+ made up a third (32.7 per cent) of all reported Police and Bank Impersonation scams.

Kirsty Adams said: “There are fluctuations in scam tactics throughout the year, but it’s encouraging to see this is one scam type that has seen a decrease.

“With so much work being done across the industry to educate consumers, it is plausible that people are increasingly wary of impersonation scams, but our work is not done.”


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