|Business Credit Fraud Articles
I recently received a check drawn on a U.S. bank for $17,000+ along with a message from one of our salespeople that he had been in contact with a new customer that wanted the merchandise shipped to an end user in Nigeria. I contacted the bank and was told that the maker of the check had a moderate 7 figure account balance. I pulled a Dun and Bradstreet ® report and found the buyer was rated 5A2! So far, so good.
I contacted the salesperson and asked for a copy of any relevant documents. I received copies of a series of email messages, a letter of introduction, and a purchase order. In spite of the fact that I had a check in hand, I remained concerned about the order pending for a number of reasons, including:
I called the buyer's CFO. I was referred to the accounting manager. She was cautious at first. When I explained that I was simply trying to verify that her company had issued the check and that the purchase order received was legitimate, she became more cooperative. She asked me to fax a copy of the check, as well as a cover sheet [on company letterhead] listing my questions.
The next morning the buyer's CFO called. He told me the check was a forgery. He added that this was the second time this had happened in the last month. He told me the other company that had received a forged check had shipped the merchandise and had lost a lot of money. The shipment was sent by overnight delivery service to Nigeria - so it arrived before the check was returned by the buyer's bank.
Frauds can be clever and elaborate, or simple and easy to identify and thwart such as this one. If there are any lessons to be learned from this situation, they are:
6/24/02 Edition, All Rights Reserved