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Paphos police investigating invoice fraud against business owner

Paphos Police HQ

Paphos police are investigating a case of invoice fraud against a business owner, a spokesman said on Friday.

According to the victim, on January 27 he made an online order for car parts from a company abroad and after an email exchange his business was invoiced €27,227 that was paid via bank transfer.

He later realised that the supplier never received the payment, which instead went to an unknown account belonging to fraudsters that appear to have intercepted communications between the two businesses.

Invoice fraud is a common form of internet fraud, according to police. It involves a fraudster notifying your company that supplier payment details have changed and providing different bank details – their own – in order to defraud you.  Sometimes they hack the supplier’s email so the contact details appear genuine.

In light of this incident, police urged the public, especially business owners, to be extra careful with their online transactions.

Police recommended that the following security measures be taken:

When prompted to make a payment to a different account than the one originally provided, the request must be verified by telephone or through other contact with the supplier.

It is also important to make sure that contact details always match those on previous correspondence, and that that a point of contact is established within the company so that payments are scheduled at regular intervals.

In addition, the public should monitor their email login history and address any suspicious activity, while email passwords should be regularly changed. When possible, it is advised to use two-step verification.

All devices should have malware protection programs that are kept regularly updated.

Links in emails or text messages from strangers should not be opened, as they may redirect to malicious websites or cause malware to be installed.

Finally, if an email looks suspicious or has been automatically forwarded to/from an unknown address, the police should be notified.

For more information and/or to report a cybercrime, the public can contact the Cyprus police cybercrime unit through www.cyberalert.cy.

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