Gardaí have warned business owners over a new invoice scam that is casuing businesses across the country to go bust because so much money is being lost as part of the vicious scheme.
There have been 132 incidents so far this year involving businesses, schools and hospitals with losses of €4.4m.
Over €2,270,000 was stolen in April alone.
The email scam involves criminals posing as one of their suppliers so they change their bank details and redirect payments.
These requests can also come as a letter or phone call.
In many instances, the business does not know it is a victim of this crime until some time later when the legitimate supplier sends a reminder invoice for payment.
Gardaí say it can be difficult to recover funds once they have left the jurisdiction so prompt reporting once noticed is critical.
“Stop and think before you change bank account details for anyone,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Pat Lordan, of the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau.
“Ask the question, is this really the person/company you owe money to. Pick up the phone and speak to the person concerned.”