When fraudsters falsify your invoice: 4 questions- Isabel Group

Stijn Meeuws

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When fraudsters falsify your invoice: 4 pressing questions

Not only should you as a company always be alert to the invoices you receive, but your invoices can also be a target for fraudsters. What do you do in case your invoices were falsified? We summarize it for you using 4 pressing questions: 

  1. My customer and I discover that an invoice has been falsified, what do I do?
  2. How do I prevent our invoices from being falsified in the future?
  3. Does my customer still have to pay me?
  4. Is there a business insurance against invoice fraud?
 

1. My customer and I discover that an invoice has been falsified, what do I do?

  • Ask your customer to contact the bank as soon as possible, even if you discovered the fake invoice only a few weeks later. The customer’s bank will contact the bank of the scammers’ account number and ask it to stop the transaction if possible or block the account. Even if some time has already passed, this is still a useful first step.
  • Check with the customer any other invoices he or she received on behalf of your company.
  • Report the incident at https://meldpunt.belgie.be. These reports are automatically forwarded to the police and bpost so that they can investigate. Moreover, at the end of your report, you will immediately receive advice and information about which steps your company can still take and who can help you with this.
  • Launch a short message via social media, email or website that your customers should be extra alert and that they should check whether the account number on their invoices is correct.
  • Consult your accountant for tax implications.
 

2. How do I prevent our invoices from being falsified in the future?

There is no golden formula to completely protect you from invoice fraud on behalf of your company. However, these tips can help avoid invoice fraud:


Paper invoices:

  • Avoid references to your company on your envelopes, such as the name or logo. Use blank envelopes without a window. Window envelopes are primarily used professionally and therefore quickly attract the attention of scammers.
  • Also communicate your account number on your order forms and on your website.
  • Ask customers to check the account number before paying.
  • Check whether the security of your office is sufficient to prevent internal fraud or theft.
  • If possible, deliver your paper invoices directly to the post office. Do not deposit them in mailboxes in business parks that are often deserted after working hours.
  • Ideally, you should also offer an electronic version of the invoice.

Digital invoices:

  • Ensure robust security of your digital platforms and network infrastructure. Get expert assistance for this if necessary.
  • Try to send as many invoices as possible digitally, preferably via a secure online environment, such as Doccle, Zoomit or SignHere. Try to avoid attachments such as PDFs. These are very easy to intercept.

In both cases, it is important to monitor the payment of your invoices closely, either manually or via software such as Ponto or Isabel Connect. If a customer fails to pay, get in touch. With Clearnox, you can set up an automatic flow for this purpose whereby you indicate in your communication to check the account number of the payment. In this way, you avoid possible losses for yourself and your customer.

 

3. Does my client still have to pay me?

Although both you and your client have acted in good faith, legally the client’s payment obligation only extinguishes upon payment to the creditor. Thus, the payment debt continues to exist. In principle, therefore, the customer should still pay you. If the customer does not wish to pay, you can decide to go to court to claim the collection. You can also decide to make a commercial gesture for your customer.

 

4. Is there a business insurance against invoice fraud?

Only a few insurers offer insurance against all kinds of fraud that companies can encounter. In some cases you can also call upon legal assistance via a BA policy. Consult your insurer about this. You can also contact intermediary organizations such as UNIZO, VOKA or Agoria for more information on this subject.

 

(source: FAQ-factuurfraude.pdf (fgov.be))

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