Invoice scams cause more business loss than any other type of fraud, new figures show

Wednesday 06 April 2022 00:01

UK businesses have lost more money to fraudsters using “invoice scams” in the past three months than to criminals using any other form of scam, according to new data from Barclays.

The bulk (55%) of the money lost by scammers between December 2021 and February 2022 was lost to invoice scams, the numbers show, because invoice scams – whereby fraudsters deposit false invoices to companies – emerged as the main source of losses.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) lost an average of £2,100 to invoice scams, as fraudsters tricked businesses into handing over money by falsifying invoices.

Meanwhile, total losses have increased by 13% over the past year, even as the total number of scams has fallen, as fraudsters have managed to pull off a smaller number of high-value scams.

Meanwhile, Barclays figures show that only 14% of SMEs seek confirmation that invoices are correct.

Joe Cooksey, Head of Business Digital Education at Barclays, said: “Scammers really are first-class social engineers, so it’s essential that business owners and their staff remain vigilant and, when in doubt, verify with their bank or a source they know is genuine.

The appeal comes amid fears fraudsters could seek to take advantage of those looking to switch energy suppliers.

“Companies are currently under tremendous pressure as they prepare for the new fiscal year and face additional challenges brought on by rising costs,” Cooksey said. “We know fraudsters will seek to take advantage of busy business owners and step up their efforts.”

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