Cheque fraud is on the increase in South Africa, most people do not use cheques anymore, not only are the charges too expensive but criminals are getting away with fraud and there seems to be very little that can be done about it.
Small businesses are most vulnerable and it is surprising that there are still small business owners who are unaware of how this fraudulent scheme works.
Firstly a stolen cheque is acquired.
Let us use this example; Jo is buying goods from your company.
Suddenly one day you see a cheque deposit in your bank account from Jo.
If Jo usually pays by bank transfer this should already be a sign, but the easiest way to recognise this fraudulent scheme is the fact that Jo only owes you R500 but the cheque deposit is for R85 000.
Early in the morning a very well spoken African gentleman will phone you and ask if you have received the deposit in your bank. When you acknowledge this, he will reply by saying that they made an error and require a refund. It is best to call Jo after someone approaches you like this and to check whether he has indeed paid by cheque and to alert him to this fraud attempt.
Many small business owners have been caught like this because they reckon they know the company involved and there is no harm in refunding the money.The fact is the cheque bounces after 3 to 7 days leaving the small business owner minus the money he refunded.
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