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06 Jul 2022

Waterford company duped out of thousands by Chinese PPE fraud

Gardaí in Waterford, with assistance from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB) are investigating an incident of fraud whereby an Irish company transferred over $74,000 into a fraudulent account based in China.

The Irish company reported the ‘invoice redirect fraud’ had occurred on May 27, 2020. The company had previously negotiated the purchase of a machine, to be used in the manufacture PPE equipment for the Health Service Executive (HSE), from a company based in China, and following due diligence had confirmed this was a valid company. A fraction of the price was then agreed to be transferred as a deposit from the company based in Ireland to the seller company in China.

It was at this point that the Irish company received fraudulent emails, purporting to have come from the Chinese company, containing bank account details for the payment of the deposit. A total of $74,600 was then transferred to this fraudulent account on May 27, 2020.

The Irish company was notified of the fraudulent transaction by their financial institution on Monday, June 8, 2020. After liaising with local Gardaí and GNECB, the misdirected payment was returned to the Irish company’s bank account.

An Garda Síochána are asking all businesses to report any incidents of invoice redirect fraud to their local Garda Station and financial institution immediately, as fraudulent transactions of this nature can move very quickly and it is important that immediate efforts are made to stop the transactions being completed. Even if the fraud has not been successful, it is possible that the bogus account is being used for other incidents of this nature and reporting it may prevent further incidents of fraud.

For more information on fraud prevention and invoice redirect fraud visit www.garda.ie

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