(South Africa)


Helping you start and build your small business empire

Scam - intercepted cheque

If you've been in business for a while, the chances are you've come across persons of debatable moral standing who have tried to steal some of your hard earned money through fraud or con tricks. We will periodically publish examples of these scams on this page in an effort to make you the small business owner aware of them and hopefully prevent you from becoming a victim. The business world is competitive enough for us not wanting our meager profits being stolen by con men. The new scams will be featured in our newsletters so we strongly recommend that you register for the newsletter so that you don't miss any. Information is power.

The "intercepted cheque" fraud.

 This is an old one and is becoming less common with the advance of electronic banking.

 How it works: You write out a cheque to your supplier and post it off .  Someone, normally in the recipient company or organisation intercepts the cheque and alters the name ever so slightly (eg they change SARS to SAR Smith).  They already have an account set up with the new name of the cheque and make the deposit.  The cheque is processed. You are none the wiser, as your bank statement reflects the correct amount - how are you to know that it went into the wrong account.  Your supplier will take several weeks before they start sending you overdue notices and by then "SAR Smith" has cleaned out the account and disappeared.

 How to prevent it:   1) Use electronic banking. 2) If you have to write out cheques use the full name which makes it harder to alter. 3) Monitor you supplier statements. Check them as they arrive so that you can sort out missing payments straight away.

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