Fake domains used to defraud businesses in the UK

The UK Police have issued a warning to businesses that hackers and cybercriminals are resorting to using fake domains in an attempt to defraud businesses in the country.

Action Fraud, the cybercrime reporting centre in the UK, said that cybercriminals are registering domain names that look like those of UK universities. Using these fake domains, criminals are defrauding supply companies.

The modus operandi of the fraudsters involves getting in touch with suppliers and placing an order for expensive items such as pharmaceutical chemicals and IT equipment while posing as a university. Emails requesting quotations and detailing extended payment terms on a purchase order look as though the real university has sent them.

The purchase order directs the supplier to deliver the ordered items to a specific address, but the supplier does not receive payment for the goods delivered.

Action Fraud said that after impersonating one university, cybercriminals were able to receive deliveries of items worth £350,000.

Pauline Smith, Director of Action Fraud, said that a scam such as this can have a far-reaching impact on a business. Therefore, it is necessary that businesses in the UK perform due diligence at the time of receiving a purchase order. They should not only verify the purchase order but also check it minutely for details such as poor grammar and spelling, which are indicative of fraud.

Ms Smith also pointed out that defrauded companies often do not report these incidents. However, they should report any fraudulent activities to concerned authorities so that Action Fraud can get the full picture and come up with a plan to safeguard businesses in the UK.

While statistics from the Government reveal that cybercrime is increasing in the country, the actual number of crimes committed is not known, as not all organisations report them. Law enforcement is urging businesses of all sizes to report cybercrime without fail.

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