The Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) has cautioned about a rise in the commissioning of cheque fraud against traders and business entities.
In a statement issued on Thursday, November 23, 2023, EOCO said the perpetrators of the fraud rely on technology and a delay in the interbank clearing system to achieve their agenda.
“They do this sometimes by riding on the back of technology whereby all transactions are done via cell phones without physical contact with the business entity. Alter an agreement is reached, the fraudsters then issue cheques on unfunded or dormant accounts which takes a number of days to be detected through the interbank clearing system. This results in the cheque being returned by the bank.
“While this is going on, the fraudsters keep pushing for the goods to be delivered with the excuse that they have made payment. The business entity or trader is therefore compelled to make delivery even though the cheque is waiting to clear. Unfortunately, once the goods are delivered, the cheque gets reversed and the fraudsters, together with the goods, vanish into thin air,” the anti-crime agency observed.
EOCO has thus cautioned members of the public including business owners to ensure due diligence when conducting transactions.
“In view of this, the general public, especially traders and business entities, is hereby encouraged to do due diligence before delivering goods and services, by ensuring that cheques or whatever forms of payment have irreversibly reflected in their accounts. This should be done by confirming that the actual or available balance of business owners has increased by the amount expected.
“Vendors should not rush to supply goods by only SMS alert without checking their actual balance,” the statement added.