With CAP (Common Agricultural Payments) expected to be paid to farmers in December 2017, farmers are urged to be extremely wary of any suspicious calls, texts or emails regarding these payments.
Information about these annual payments is publicly available via government websites and criminals will seize this opportunity to target the farming community in an attempt to defraud them. The fact that recipient’s names and amounts paid are public record, allows the criminals’ to appear plausible in their contact.
Potential scams include:
PAYMENT DIVERSION FRAUD
Fraudsters who purport to be a trusted senior colleague or established customer may request that you change their direct debit, standing order or amend a bank transfer so that the payment can be diverted to a bank account which is in control of the fraudster. Fraudsters will often make the request under the pretence of a highly sensitive or urgent transaction.
Contact is made via phone, letter but most commonly via email (personal or work address) used by the organisation or employee (which has either been spoofed or hacked). The fraudster then provides bank account details into which the monies should be paid.
• Ensure all staff, not just finance teams are aware of this fraud.
• Always verify any new requests for orders, transfers, or changes to financial details by using contact details already on file, or obtained from open source records (such as the company website). Consider doing so via two separate methods (e.g. email and telephone), in case one or the other has been hijacked by the fraudsters.
• Have a system in place which allows staff to properly verify contact from their CEO or senior members of staff; for example having two points of contact so that the staff can check that the instruction which they have received from their CEO is legitimate.
• Always review requests to change ‘one off’ payment requests. Check for inconsistencies or grammatical errors, such as a misspelt company name or a slightly different email address.
• Ensure computer systems are secure and that antivirus software is up to date.
This is a growing scam whereby fraudsters make contact posing as a Police Officer, Government official or a member of the fraud team within your bank. The fraudster typically claims that suspicious activity has been detected on your bank account and suggest urgent action is required to safeguard funds. The victim is encouraged to divulge personal or financial information, or even to transfer money directly into a so-called ‘safe account’.
• A genuine bank, the Police or trusted organisation will never contact you and ask you to disclose personal financial details, your PIN, full password or request that you move money to a safe account. Never disclose this information.
• If you receive such a call, hang up the phone and do not reply directly even if the number displayed appears genuine. Fraudsters can spoof their number to one of their choosing.
• To verify the call, it is advisable to do so on a different phone line, such as your mobile, or another landline. If this is not possible, wait at least five minutes between receiving the suspect call and making a new call as fraudsters can keep your line open.
• Contact your bank to alert them to the scam, using a phone number which you have verified from their official website, or from your bank statement or bank card.
If you have been affected by this, or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.