An Irish company transferred more than 74,000 US dollars (65,000 euro) into a fraudulent account in China to buy a machine to manufacture PPE for the HSE, gardai have said.
Gardai in Waterford, with assistance from the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau (GNECB), are investigating the fraud after the company reported the “invoice redirect” fraud happened last month.
Gardai said the Irish firm had negotiated the purchase of a machine from a company based in China, and following due diligence had confirmed it was a valid business.
A portion of the price was agreed to be transferred as a deposit, and at this point the Irish company received fraudulent emails purporting to be from the Chinese firm, containing bank account details for the payment of the deposit.
A total of 74,600 dollars was transferred to the fraudulent account on May 27.
The Irish company was notified of the fraudulent transaction by its financial institution on Monday.
After liaising with local gardai and the GNECB, the misdirected payment was returned to the Irish company’s bank account.
A Garda spokeswoman said: “An Garda Siochana are asking all businesses to report any incidents of invoice redirect fraud to their local Garda station and financial institution immediately, as fraudulent transactions of this nature can move very quickly and it is important that immediate efforts are made to stop the transactions being completed.
“Even if the fraud has not been successful, it is possible that the bogus account is being used for other incidents of this nature and reporting it may prevent further incidents of fraud.”