Payment Diversion Fraud (PDF) / Business Email Compromise (BEC)
PDF, also known as Business Email Compromise (BEC) or Mandate Fraud, involves criminals impersonating others, creating or amending invoices and diverting payments to bank accounts under their own control. This can target both businesses and individuals.
PDF is a significant threat to the UK economy with reported losses of around £152m in the year to September 2021, and over 4,600 individual cases. Businesses are particularly impacted by annual spikes in PDF that normally occur in March and November, and are associated with financial year-ends. PDF has been increasing and this trend is predicted to grow because of increased business activity associated with relaxing of Covid-19 restrictions, alongside the increased sophistication of fraudsters involved in PDF.
PDF affects all types of businesses and individuals. However, due to the targeted nature of this fraud type, small and medium sized businesses, which often have less comprehensive IT security, are particularly vulnerable. In addition, individuals that are purchasing houses and are involved in large financial transactions are also at risk. These two victim groups should be particularly vigilant to protect themselves against PDF.