News and Notices

Could you be sending money to fraudsters?

What would you do if you received an email from your boss like this?

"Hi, are you busy? I need you to process a wire transfer for me urgently. Let me know when you are free so I can send the beneficiary's details. Thanks."

Many of us would jump to it, eager to please.

But this message has all the hallmarks of CEO fraud, one of the most common forms of business email fraud targeting thousands of companies around the world every day.

While NHS commissioners and providers have processes in place to question such emails, even if they are from an email address which appears to be valid; last year, Barbie manufacturer Mattel sent more than $3m (£2.3m) to a fraudulent account in China, after a finance executive was fooled by a message supposedly sent by new chief executive Christopher Sinclair.

Mattel eventually got its money back from China - where the company has significant business interests - but most companies usually have to take the hit after falling victim.

Earlier this year, for example, Austrian aerospace parts maker FACC fired its president and chief financial officer after losing a thumping €42m (£36m) in a business email fraud.

Simply tricking companies into sending invoice payments to the wrong people costs UK companies about £9bn a year, according to research from invoicing company Tungsten Network.

And procurement fraud - charging for stuff that was never delivered; taking a bribe for awarding a contract to a particular supplier; or encouraging suppliers to charge over the odds then creaming off the difference - accounts for 88% of total UK fraud losses.

If you have any concerns regarding fraud, bribery or corruption in the NHS, please contact our Counter Fraud Specialist, Penny Gee on 0115 883 5323 or email