Cheque fraudster outwitted

2011-07-15 00:00

QUICK thinking by employees of Post Shepstone Precast (PSP) prevented the company from falling victim to a banking scam amounting to R45 000.

Tim Kerns, the accountant at PSP, received a call from a Walter Collins yesterday morning informing him of a change in banking details of one of PSP’s suppliers.

“Walter phoned this morning and said he was from the company that supplies our river sand.

“He asked if he could send us our monthly statement for payment and requested our fax number.

“He concluded by saying that he was also faxing us a ‘change of banking details’ instruction,” Kerns said.

On receipt of the fax PSP contacted the supplier to confirm its new banking details, but the supplier had no knowledge of the instruction.

The supplier then informed PSP that Walter had phoned them on Wednesday posing as an employee of PSP requesting a debtor’s statement, which it unwittingly provided.

The fraudster faxed the statement to PSP with a change in the banking details and a cancelled cheque from Standard Bank Port Shepstone bearing the name of the supplier, but adding the word “Sand”.

“This branch was contacted and informed of what appeared to be an account used for fraudulent purposes,” Kerns said.

PSP said Standard Bank confirmed that the account in question is not in the name of its supplier and belonged to an individual who is not a local resident.

Said manager Guy Osborne, “Standard Bank informed us that the account was in a different region and although they could not disclose the details to us they would further investigate the matter.”

Had PSP complied with the instruction to the change the banking details and sent a cheque a substantial amount of money would have been lost.

“Businesses need to be extremely vigilant when dealing with bank accounts and financial matters,” said Osborne.

“It’s so easy to be caught off guard, especially when these guys [fraudsters] are so meticulous with their details.”

Standard Bank media relations manager Michelle Marsh said, “Standard Bank applauds PSP for the speedy way they reacted to the fraudulent attempt.

“Standard Bank always encourages consumers to question and report any communication that appears to be illegitimate.”

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