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Summer surge for scams in business

Companies are being warned today to be wary of an upsurge in business scams during the summer holidays.

A survey by the Irish Small & Medium Enterprises Association (ISME) found that 66pc of businesses questioned were targeted over the last 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 '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 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," he added.

ISME recommended:

  • All invoices are checked carefully -- especially those coming from abroad or from unknown suppliers. If in doubt about, call the company for further details.

  • Ensure all signatories within the company are fully briefed, and that all staff understand procedures for signing off on information leaving the establishment.

  • Note that banks do not request any confidential account information over the internet.

ISME also recommended that any business being harassed by bogus legal demands for payment for directory entries to contact its helpline on 01 6622755.