Atradius has called on businesses to remain “vigilant” after seeing a rise in opportunistic fraud during the ongoing pandemic.
The trade credit insurer said that an increase in impersonation fraud was a result of fraudsters “seeking to take advantage” of disruptions to normal business patterns amid the nationwide lockdown.
According to the insurance group, impersonation fraud is particularly common amongst sectors that trade perishable goods, as its products and transactions are difficult to trace.
It warned that no sector was “immune”, however, with an increase in impersonation fraud impacting all sectors, including construction materials and metals.
In order to combat fraud, Atradius is calling on businesses to check the delivery location of companies on maps and “ask yourself whether it is a feasible location for the company you’re supposedly dealing with to be operating from”.
It also warned that risks can still exist even when a business may seem legitimate, and said it is therefore important to “make sure every person in the business is well versed in spotting the signs of fraud and knows how to raise a red flag if they see a problem”.
Simon Rockett, head of risk underwriting for Atradius UK said: “Impersonation fraud is a common occurrence in the business world but what’s different just now is the significant increase we are seeing.
“Fraudsters are always on the lookout for new ways to take advantage and, unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic has become an opportunity they are seeking to exploit.”
He added: “Lockdown measures have changed normal operations for many businesses – including shutdowns, a sudden drop in demand and supply chain interruptions.
“The concern is that the eagerness to resume trading will mean businesses could become less cautious in their approach to due diligence and so more likely to get caught out – which is exactly what fraudsters are hoping for.”
Rockett warned businesses to not let their guard down, stating that “vigilance is essential” once normal trading resumes.