Fraud! Red flags of invoice and payment fraud

This week a client of mine almost became victim to a scam – someone was masquerading as the CEO of the company and they sent an email to another member of the organization requesting payment of an attached invoice by the end of the day.

This invoice was sent along to me to process payment.

Here’s what tipped me off that it was fraudulent:

  • The email text from the CEO was loaded with typos that even from his mobile are not typical behavior
  • He has never since I’ve worked with him required payment on a new invoice by the end of the day
  • We have a standardized invoice approval process that this had not gone through
  • The invoice itself was very questionable
  • It was issued by an individual with no website or LinkedIn profile, with both a Florida AND Texas address on the invoice, and if real, would have been a new vendor to us
  • It was issued to someone unaffiliated with us, and located 30 minutes north of a major west coast city in which we don’t do business
  • The bank wiring information was for a bank in Tennessee
  • The invoice didn’t actually reference my client’s company at all
  • The phone number on the invoice was invalid
  • The description of the services provided was vague, at best

Clearly, you can see that this is a scam. The only thing that gave it even an ounce of credibility was that the scammers had managed to make it look like it was coming from the CEO.

Keep your eyes open for any of the red flags I mentioned – it could save you thousands of dollars.