Firms warned of business scams
Irish firms have been warned to be wary of an upsurge in business scams during the summer holidays.
A survey by the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) found 66% of businesses questioned were targeted over the past 12 months.
Fraudsters are believed to increase their attempts to lure companies into scams during the holiday period when senior staff may be on leave.
The most common cons peddled by criminals targeting small businesses included offers from overseas, access to international business directories, and the use of so-called "phishing" techniques to obtain sensitive financial information over the internet.
ISME chief executive Mark Fielding said his association received an increased number of calls over recent weeks about scams relating to bank accounts, business directories and the Revenue Commissioners.
"The unsolicited correspondence in relation to non-existent professional guides and internet directories are proving to be particularly problematic and in the last couple of weeks numerous companies across the country have received invoices from companies seeking payment for entry in an international directory of which the company management were not aware," he said.
The ISME estimated criminal activities had the potential to cost millions unless businesses put in place policies to prevent new and intricate methods to "rip off" unsuspecting companies.
Mr Fielding added: "The incidence of these scams increases during the summer holidays as fraudsters are aware that, in many cases, senior management may be on annual holidays, leaving more junior staff to take decisions.
"Some 'update only' requests being sought by directories appear to be innocuous, however this can result in a staff member inadvertently signing something, resulting in the company being ostensibly tied to a contract."