2017-12-15 15:55:00 -

Businesses beware of invoice redirect fraud

At this busy seasonal time, An Garda Síochána wishes to advise of the continuing existence of invoice redirect fraud. 

Losses amounting to over €700,000 have been reported to Gardaí in the last month, and businesses are urged to treat any request to change supplier bank account details with extreme caution.

Invoice redirect fraud is a crime targeting businesses working with suppliers that regularly perform online financial transactions.

Criminals send emails or letters or make phone calls to businesses purporting to be one of their legitimate suppliers, with instructions to change the bank account details to illegitimate sources. 

In many instances, the business does not know it is a victim of this crime until sometime later when the legitimate supplier sends a reminder invoice.

Businesses must ensure that they have robust policies and procedures in place to deal with requests of this nature, including escalating decision-making to supervisory positions, and making direct contact with a trusted individuals in the supplier’s organisation.

It is important to note that victims of invoice redirect fraud range from very small businesses to large corporations, The consequences of falling for a scam of this nature can be catastrophic, and can result in the closure of businesses and redundancies, so all employees should receive training in relation to avoiding this type of scam.

An Garda Síochána

Insurance costs sending drivers round the bend

It seems insurance companies are controversially locking-in their clients to their policies by offering large loyalty discounts. This makes it practically impossible to get a better quote if you cannot beat the ‘loyalty discount’.

These discounts have been rising sharply over the years and are now a major part of a policy’s perks, involving hundreds of euros. Loyalty discounts were as little as €15 five years ago.

However, the side effect is that you are fixed to one insurer, because gross premiums have been adjust upwards across the board. Since you lose the discount if you go with another insurer, moving will cost you more.

There is very little point in calling around for a quote these days, especially in the motor industry. A gross premium minus a full no-claims bonus will not be enough to secure a better quote without the loyalty discount.

These discounts, while generous, are stifling competition in the market and are something the competition authority and insurance regulator the Central Bank should get into fast. You are very unlikely to do better than the insurance company you are currently with in terms of pricing, with drivers being cornered by loyalty discounts.

There is no evidence either that claims-free drivers are being rewarded for their safe driving. Very safe drivers are being slapped in the face every year with nasty hikes in their premiums in an industry which is attracting increasing levels of criticism and ridicule.

The Irish insurance industry has become very monopolised and unhealthy. Policies are also littered with endorsements and caveats which does not represent good value for money. So-called ‘comprehensive policies’ are far from comprehensive and are full of qualifications and restrictions.

People need to check their policies very carefully and they should not rely on the title. There can be strict limits and enormous changes to the driving of other vehicles allowed on policies, which incorporate time restrictions and type of vehicle which can only be driven.

It is no wonder at all why so many people drive illegally without insurance, given the costs and the sharp practices going on, in addition to very poor quality insurance products sold to them. It is time for the Government to act on what is fast becoming an area of commerce which is driving people off the road.

Maurice Fitzgerald

Shanbally, Co Cork

Corrections and clarifications

In our 15-30 November issue, the article on Charlotte McIvor’s book Migration and Performance in Contemporary Ireland neglected to mention that Kunle Animashun of Camino Productions was one of the co-launchers of the book.

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