Police have issued an advisory to business people to increase their vigilance following what they say are numerous reports of merchants being defrauded of significant sums of money.
According to Fraud Squad detectives, “persons have been ordering goods from merchants and arranging to pay via direct deposits or cheques. The merchants, on most of these occasions, contact their banks and receive confirmation that the money was deposited to their account. Once the merchants get confirmation, they usually deliver the goods ordered; in some cases, the cost of the goods amounts to millions of dollars. It is then discovered that the cheques were forged or the deposit receipts were fraudulently obtained.”
The Fraud squad has issued the following tips for business operators:
- Merchants should wait until the cheques deposited into their accounts are cleared through the banks, before delivering goods.
- When a bank receipt of deposit is submitted by the customer, the merchant must double-check with the bank to confirm the details on these receipts.
- When enquiries are being made of the bank, business operators should include the following questions in their queries:
- Was the deposit made using a cheque or cash?
- What was the amount of deposit made?
- Are there any holds on the funds deposited?
–In addition, the Police are urging business persons to always request identification details from customers, including: name, address, TRN, telephone number, delivery vehicle and a valid form of identification bearing the person’s photograph, such as passport, driver’s licence or voter’s ID. It is also recommended that the licence plate number of the delivery vehicle be recorded, and a photocopy of the driver’s licence obtained.