Frauds and Scams

False Billing

In a false billing scam, the fraudster sends a professional-looking invoice for products or services that were never ordered or received, hoping that it will be paid without investigation.

This type of scam is usually aimed at larger organisations with big billing/payment systems, in the hope that smaller invoices will go through unnoticed. In some cases, false billing is pre-empted by a telephone call from the fraudster, intending to make targets think that they may have bought something from the fraudster at some point.

Variants on such scams include:

  • Attempts to obtain funds for placing an advert in a non-existent publication. Fraudsters suggest that a previous advert has been placed and that this transaction is a follow-up or repeat.
  • Attempts to sell space in a bogus or limited-distribution business directory. Whilst many of these transactions are not fraudulent, some are at best deceitful, wasting both money and resources.
  • Attempts to gain payment for false invoices, with callers offering a ‘discount’ if payment is received quickly.

What Can You Do?

The best approach is to have sound accounting practices. Always use a purchase order numbering system and never pay an invoice if there is no corresponding purchase order.

© Crown Copyright. URN 05/623; 01/05

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