I thought I'd share my recent experience of a fraud attempt on my business to help others spot the signs as early as possible.
I initially received an email enquiry to purchase an item from a Dubai company. As I've sent items there in the past it wasn't unduly surprising. The enquiry wanted a total including shipping. I replied with costings which were accepted. They asked for a po forma invoice and said they'd pay by wire. This is a safe way to receive funds so I sent the invoice including the international bank codes for my bank.
I told myself if the payment method changes this would be suspicious......
I waited. I next received an email saying how, through an error, they'd sent the wrong amount (over 52k).. of course I laughed at this... and thought I'd wait if anything turned up in my bank. Then the bank called to say they'd received a *cheque* for a large amount and was this correct. I explained I wouldn't be touching that with a barge pole thank you! The bank said the cheque was from an Irish company which I'd never heard of. The next day the bank confirmed it was a fraudulent cheque.
So.. plainly, the fraudsters wanted me to think I had received money safely by wire, which can not be reversed, hoping the bank wouldn't let me know it was in fact a fraudulent/stolen cheque that would never be paid. They hoped I'd just return the extra money from my own funds (I wish!) before the cheque bounced. They sent numerous 'payment advise' emails which I ignore.
The Banks fraud department are now dealing with this along with the Action Fraud branch of UK police.