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Scams on the rise as end of financial year looms

Trading Standards officers in Staffordshire are reminding businesses to be particularly vigilant as they prepare for the end of the financial year on 5 April.


Officers are asking all organisations to be particularly aware, as criminals will try to exploit the busy time of year for finance teams and those preparing tax returns.   


Scammers often use ‘phishing’ attacks, where fake emails or texts are sent or even phone calls made.  In these cases, they will ask for sensitive information or try and direct people to bogus websites where they can be tricked into divulging company, personal or financial details, which scammers can use to conduct fraudulent activities.


A common scam is ‘payment diversion fraud’ (or ‘business email compromise’).  This is when scammers create fake email addresses, which are designed to look like genuine ones, to impersonate real companies.  Scammers will use these accounts to contact businesses, sending them fraudulent invoices for payment or asking for company bank details to be changed, so they can divert money into bank accounts that they control.


Officers have offered the below tips on how to spot and report scams:



Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council, said: “We know from experience that criminals will always try and exploit situations such as the end of the financial year, so it’s really important to be vigilant and stay informed. 


“These scams are where fraudsters try to dupe people by sending emails, phone calls and texts, which mimic supplier or government messages to make them appear authentic.


“The type of language scammers use in these attacks aim to put pressure on individuals, threatening that due dates for payments have passed and that services could be taken away or accounts closed if payments are not made immediately.


“Unfortunately, these types of attacks are getting much harder to spot and we often see an increase in them at this time of year.  While lots of scams can appear genuine, it’s easy to fall for them, so it’s important to stop and check carefully.  And, if it is a scam, please report it to the relevant organisation who will investigate.”


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