Councils lose £7m in construction invoice fraud

Published:  11 November, 2011

LONDON: Local authorities fell prey to construction invoice scams last year to the tune of at least £7m, according to new figures from the Audit Commission.

Criminals have been posing as contractors. They are known to use information on council websites then ask finance departments to redirect payments for work to bogus bank accounts they have set-up then pocket the cash.

Councils claim they are now wise to the scams and have already prevented losses of another £20m this year.

The Audit Commission said: "Criminals use data to mislead and to redirect payments to and from public bodies. The fraudsters have sent letters to council finance teams that appear legitimate and often follow them up with phone calls to chase payments."

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