While technology has given rise to new avenues through which fraudsters can get into your account, there are some more traditional ways such as document forging that may be employed to remove funds from your account without your authorization.
Forged Documents Fraud
In these modern times we are still at risk of being defrauded by means of fraudulent documents such as falsified cheques and bank transfer forms.
You may have signed a batch of cheques, which the fraudster could have gotten hold of and made the cheques payable to themselves and encashed. If the cheques were not signed a good forger may falsify your signature on the cheque and paid this into his/her account.
A fraudster may also with access to your bank account number, make a bank transfer request by forging your signature on a funds transfer form. While the Bank tries its best to identify such types of fraud, the forgery may sometimes be so good that the bank staff fails to notice anything wrong with the signature on the form or cheque.
If your signature on forms and cheques differs to the one held on the system, the Bank may contact you to confirm that it was indeed you who signed the document. While this may be bothersome, it is the Bank acting in your best interest. If you signature has significantly changed since it was originally provided to the bank, it is recommended that you provide a new specimen to update the Bank’s records so that you do not get further calls to confirm it was you who signed any form or cheque.
Protecting yourself from forged documents fraud
- Keep your cheque book safe
- Do not pre-sign any cheques
- Do not divulge your account number unless strictly necessary
- If you notice that your cheque book is missing or pages are missing, contact the Fraud Department immediately to report this and have the missing cheques blocked
Through invoice fraud, instead of paying your suppliers for goods or services purchased, you make payment into a fraudster’s account based on an invoice that you believe to have been sent to you by your supplier.
The fraudster may intercept an original invoice from your supplier whether sent via email, or even if sent via post, and alter the bank details, replacing the supplier’s bank details with their own. When you receive the invoice, unknowingly, you transfer the payment for the invoice into the account of the fraudster. Until your supplier begins chasing payment, you remain unaware that the funds have been paid to the fraudster instead of the supplier.
Protect yourself from invoice fraud
Maintain records of supplier invoices and bank details, which to make reference to when making payments. Compare the new invoice against previous invoices and any change in bank details should be queried preferably over the phone rather than by email, which may have been hacked.
If you receive invoices electronically, check the email address against the address used for previous invoices. Any slight changes should be investigated by contacting the supplier, over the phone.