Friday, May 20, 2011

Fraud Friday: some scams in the news

Third Sector reported yesterday that the Charity Commission had found that the Director and chair of an education charity not only stole £245,000 from two charities but also made fraudulent payments for training and other activities.

When trustees abuse their position it can be difficult for other employees to know and stand in their way. However, it is disturbing that the charity failed to submit audited accounts for two financial years. Trustees really should pay attention. Too often trustees place undue reliance on their more financially literate colleagues - maybe this happened here.

The headline on this week's Inside Housing is: Landlords targeted by electronic con. In fact the scam does not seem that technological: housing associations seem to have fallen for fake letters requesting changes to supplier details.

Last month the Young People's Learning Agency issued a fraud alert to colleges and academies which warned:

All Academies and sixth form colleges are asked to be vigilant when dealing with notifications of changes of bank account from their suppliers, and if necessary to review their procedures for dealing with changes. The YPLA has been notified of an alleged attempted fraud in which an apparently genuine change of bank details for a supplier (a building contractor) was notified and acted upon. The notification was subsequently been discovered to be false once the genuine supplier raised a query over a missing payment.

The police are currently investigating this incident – the YPLA has been informed that similar attempts have been made elsewhere in the country

While most people are wary of emails and phone calls - particularly the most amateur of 419 scams such as those highlighted on the 419eater website - too often people accept a piece of paper if it is signed and looks official.

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