GARDAÍ in Westport have warned businesses who receive e-mails from companies notifying them of a change in a company name or bank details to double check the changes and make direct contact with the companies in question before transferring money.
The warning comes after as many as four companies in the town have paid outstanding invoices, only to be told by the companies who they paid that the money did not arrive in their account.
“At this time of year, scamming is rife and we would ask all companies, big or small, to be very wary of e-mails or invoices they receive notifying of changed company names or bank details,” said a local Garda spokesperson.
“Scammers intercept e-mails and make very subtle changes to company bank details or names. They also notify the company of the changes and to many, these changes look very legit and above board. However, at least four companies in Westport have told Gardaí that they have paid outstanding invoices, only for the company they paid to make contact to say the is still outstanding. Our advice would be to make direct contact with the company by phone and double check that these changes are correct before transferring any money.”
The Gardaí also warned people who are taking out loans for Christmas to never pay any money upfront in order to secure the loan. “We are also aware of a situation where scammers, again through e-mail, become aware that a person is about to secure a loan, and make contact with the person to say in order to secure the loan amount in full, they must lodge a sum of money to another account. People have again lodged this money, only to subsequently find out that it was not the company providing the loan that made the request. Communication is the key here, people should pick up the phone and endeavour to double check any details before transferring money,” added the Garda spokesperson.