Small businesses warned of money laundering scam

Small businesses across Sussex are being warned to be on the lookout for a new type of scam which may see them being tricked into laundering money by overseas '˜investors'.

Friday, 20th May 2016, 11:05 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:47 am
Scam warning. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150809-154729001

The alert from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’s (NFIB) Proactive Intelligence Team details how the scam starts with an email/phone call from fraudsters overseas who claim they are interested in “investing” in new start-up companies within the UK.

The fraudsters build trust with their victim, and over time convince them that the money they are transferring into their businesses accounts is for ‘investments’.

As banks have transfer limits which will flag up the movement of large amounts of funds, the fraudsters will only transfer small amounts at a time to avoid detection.

These investments are, in fact, a vehicle to launder the proceeds of crime into the UK from other scams, including money lost from victims of online dating fraud.

Money laundering is a crime and business owners can be jailed.

The NFIB has issued the following checklist to help small businesses avoid being fooled by this scam:

- Be extremely cautious about unsolicited emails or messages from people offering to invest in your business.

- Do not share your financial details with anyone you don’t know and trust, particularly if it’s someone that first contacted you via an unsolicited message.

- Carry out thorough research on the potential investor before you accept any money. Check to see whether the company is properly registered as a business in the country they operate in. For example, all UK PLC,LTD and LLP businesses are registered with Companies House. You can contact the relevant trading standards authority or local government office to enquire about whether they’ve received any complaints about the company.

If you have been, or suspect you may have been a victim of this scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or using the online reporting tool.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage

2) Like our Facebook page

3) Follow us on Twitter

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

Always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.