B2B Payments

 In UK, BEC Fraud Gains Ground on eCommerce Sites

PayPal and eBay, targets for BEC fraud? According to online marketplace news site Tamebay, e-mail addresses are being co-opted and in some cases, sellers are being duped out of thousands of pounds. Elsewhere, in India, tax authorities are crafting a database designed to monitor invoice fraud.

In the United Kingdom, online marketplace news site Tamebay reported this past week that eBay has allegedly not stopped a scam where fraudsters changed details of sellers’ PayPal addresses and diverted funds into scammers’ accounts.

In anecdotes reported by Tamebay, seller accounts have been compromised, the fraudsters buy URLs with similar addresses and tie an e-mail account to that address. PayPal accounts are then set up and funds diverted.

The “daily take may be low,” as the site reported but cumulatively the losses have come to thousands of pounds.  In one case, a seller contacted Tamebay and said that more than 14,000 pounds were looted over the course of more than 3,200 transactions over a four-month period.

Of eBay, Tamebay asked: “Why are there no alerts when a PayPal email payment address is changed on active listings? Why is there no warning on the seller dashboard? What [is] eBay doing to prevent this from happening to you? Or is it already happening to you and you just aren’t aware you’re being scammed? … eBay blame[s] PayPal, PayPal blame[s] eBay. Neither take[s] responsibility.”

In India, the Financial Express reported that the indirect tax department has developed an index, based on risk assessment, that seeks to identify the parties using fake invoices to evade taxes. The index can help realize tax revenues of 50,000 crores a year.

The news site said that the invoices do not have a tradeoff of goods or services, and tend to claim tax credits that are unwarranted and then use them to offset other liabilities. The fake invoices also have been used to exaggerate top lines and launder money. There is the potential to create a database to monitor fraud, said the site.

The taxman would keep a close watch on firms that quote common addresses, PANs, emails, mobile numbers or authorized signatories, according to the report. Firms that consistently show mismatch in reported transactions and e-way bills (EWB) would also be seen as being “risky.”  The tax department also is reportedly looking at how such activities might be addressed by the Indian Penal code.

 Separately, in the States, in Alaska, it was reported that more than $2.3 million has been returned to the City of Unalaska in the wake of an investigation by federal authorities into business email compromise (BEC) fraud.

As has been reported across news sites such as KUCB, the city paid $2.9 million to a scammer’s bank account from May to July of this year. The fraudster represented the account as belonging to a vendor for the city and requested that payments be sent to the account.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was called in, and the real vendor was paid the full amount owed, partly covered by the city’s insurance.

In a statement, FBI Special Agent Steve Forrest said fraudulent schemes are becoming more prevalent, stating that “in the case of Unalaska, we were able to recover funds and prevent any future loss thanks to the timely and thorough response from the city administration,” said Forrest. “We are continuing to investigate this case in an effort to identify the perpetrators.”

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