Fraud & Security

Protect your business from overpayment fraud

What is overpayment fraud?

This is where a fraudster contacts a business, posing as a customer, to order goods or services which they usually pay for by cheque or draft.

After making the payment, the fraudster contact the business to reduce or cancel the order requesting an urgent refund. The business processes the refund using an electronic payment method.

In due course, the original cheque or draft is returned unpaid and the business is left out of pocket.

What to look out for

Be wary of a new customer making an unusually large order or making a payment above the asking price, regardless of the reason given. Is the customer too good to be true?

  • Ask yourself if the sale is much higher than your usual sales. Is the customer buying lots of different items? Does this person act like your regular types of customer?
  • Make sure the payment has cleared and any funds paid into your account are irreversible before making a refund.
  • Don’t feel pressured to release the goods or return any of the funds until the payment has cleared.
  • Be wary when a customer asks for a refund to be paid to a different account or via a different method than the original payment.
  • If you feel that something isn’t right about an instruction or payment, don’t be afraid to speak to your relationship manager before paying.

Actions you can take

  • Share this page with employees and colleagues, so they know what to look out for. Put training in place, so people in your business know how to spot and handle common threats.
  • For the latest cyber security advice and resources, visit the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).