Police warning over bank transfers after fraudsters scam two people out of £1m each

The two victims were conned into signing false bank transfer mandates

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The Independent Online

Two people have been scammed out of £1 million each by fraudsters who tricked them into signing false bank transfer mandates.

Surrey Police are warning people to double check that any requests for bank transfers or changes to payment details are genuine so they do not fall foul of similar scams.

The first victim, who runs his own company, had set up a mandate to make regular payments to one of his suppliers, but was conned out of just over £1 million after receiving a letter which appeared to come from the supplier providing details of a new bank account.

 

The victim changed the payment details and only became aware of the scam when the supplier notified him that they had not received their payment. This is believed to have taken place between May 12 and June 8.

The second victim lost a similar amount of money after fraudsters used a fake email address to inform him the company carrying out building work for him had changed its bank account details.

Detective Sergeant Chris Rambour, from Surrey Police's economic crime unit, said: "This is a huge amount of money to lose and we are carrying out a thorough investigation to try and identify the offenders responsible.

"This is proving particularly challenging as this is obviously an extremely elaborate hoax and these offences are taking place all over the country.

"On both occasions, the fraudsters have somehow obtained the details of the two victims and have convinced them that they are from the companies to which they were each contracted.

"While our inquiries remain ongoing, we are determined to prevent other people from falling prey to this scam and would urge anyone in a similar situation to exercise extreme caution when making alterations to bank account details.

"Don't leave things like bills lying around for others to look at and record details of standing orders and direct debits. Always verify changes to financial arrangements with the organisation directly using established contact details you have on file.

"If you are concerned about the source of a call, hang up and call back using established contact details you have on file."

He added: "Check your bank statements carefully and report anything suspicious to your financial institution."

Press Association