Island firms warned of elaborate fraud scam

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Lewis Builders have warned island businesses to stay vigilant after they were targeted in a convincing fraud attempt which apparently tried to dupe contacts into paying into a fake bank account.

Alarm bells were set off for the Stornoway-based builders when Highland Council contacted the business to check whether a letter received by the council informing them of a change in bank account was genuine.

It was quickly discovered that the letter was fraudulent and the bogus letter had been signed off by a named person who does not, and has never, worked for Lewis Builders.

The bogus letter looked alarmingly genuine with official company logo, a legitimate address and fax number in order to make it as convincing as possible.

A spokesperson for the company explained: “Whoever put together the letter had copied our new logo from the website and various other details but made up a false email for our accounts and also put our fax number in for the telephone number.

“I can only assume was done so that whoever they sent the letters out to would not be able to contact us. In the letter a new bank account with all the details were put on urging our customers to pay into this new account instead of our own.”

They continue: “We checked to see if this was an actual account number and discovered it was via a sort code check online. The letter was also signed off by ‘our finance director Darren Moore’ who doesn’t exist, at least not in the history of our company.

“As you can see it was pretty obvious to us that we were the victim of some sort of scam and contacted the police and our bank who were both very helpful and aware that such scams had taken place in the U.K.

“The situation is currently being monitored by both.”

Lewis Builders have shared the fraudulent letter on their social media pages with the hope it alerts island businesses that such scams are targeting local firms and to remain vigilant.

They add: “We are very vigilant when it comes to anything suspicious and have a great team that have a keen eye for not allowing this situation to happen but in cases like this there is nothing you can do without your customers spotting an anomaly.

“I urge anyone that has received a letter from Lewis Builders Ltd requesting any changes to please contact us and secondly I urge anyone around this time to be keeping a watchful eye on their bank accounts, emails and letters through the post as scammers are a real thing on the Island and nobody is immune to the possibility of it happening to them.

“As you can see it was pretty obvious to us that we were the victim of some sort of scam and contacted the police and our bank who were both very helpful and aware that such scams had taken place in the U.K.

“The situation is currently being monitored by both.”

Lewis Builders have shared the fraudulent letter on their social media pages with the hope it alerts island businesses that such scams are targeting local firms and to remain vigilant.

They add: “We are very vigilant when it comes to anything suspicious and have a great team that have a keen eye for not allowing this situation to happen but in cases like this there is nothing you can do without your customers spotting an anomaly.

“I urge anyone that has received a letter from Lewis Builders Ltd requesting any changes to please contact us and I urge anyone around this time to be keeping a watchful eye on their bank accounts, emails and letters through the post as scammers are a real thing on the Island and nobody is immune to the possibility of it happening to them.”

Pictured is a copy of the scam letter.