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JimLawyer
JimLawyer, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 14783
Experience:  Senior Associate Solicitor
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Ellen, I've been defrauded £10k by a scammer on an invoice

Customer Question

Hi Ellen, I've been defrauded £10k by a scammer on an invoice fraud that originated from a supplier having their email hacked and fraudster editing one of their invoices. The supplier is demanding (re)payment of the invoice and has turned down offer of compromise. Presumably I need to pay the invoice however I'm wondering whether I have grounds to go after them since it was their email that was hacked that enabled the fraud. Best, Tom
JA: Where are you? It matters because laws vary by location.
Customer: UK
JA: What steps have you taken so far?
Customer: Reported to the banks involved who said the account I sent to now has no £ in so nothing they can do... and reported to police / actionfraud who haven't followed up.
JA: Is there anything else the Lawyer should know before I connect you? Rest assured that they'll be able to help you.
Customer: Think that covers it
Submitted: 15 days ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 15 days ago.

Hello, this is Jim and welcome to JustAnswer. I will be the lawyer working with you today.
Sorry to hear of the issue. I will set out my written answer shortly.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 15 days ago.

If the court were to be involved the question it would ask would be whose email account was compromised. If what you are saying is their email account was hacked, how is this your fault?. You have now send £10,000 as per an invoice which the supplier sent to you. It is likely the court would find them to blame for this - you are the innocent party.
You are saying they are demanding repayment - you should refuse (how to you know their security is any better?). I note you already spoke to the bank who cannot help (a charge back only works if the funds remain in the recipient bank account) and also Action Fraud.
As it stands, you have complied with your side of the contract - the supplier needs to honour their contract and that means providing you with whatever it was you paid for.

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 15 days ago.

I hope this helps and answers the question - my goal is to ensure you are happy with the answer and have the information you need. If you have any follow up questions then please let me know. I will reply as soon as I can to help with any further queries.

Many thanks,
Jim

Expert:  JimLawyer replied 15 days ago.

Please let me know if the answer helped or if you need me to cover anything else?. I am happy to clarify the answer or if you have any follow up questions. If so, I’d be grateful if you would let me know. I am free most days, including weekends, so feel free to ask me anything you are unsure of.

Best wishes,

Jim

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Hi Jim, Thanks for this- appreciated. The problem has an added layer of complexity since there is another party involved who was managing the project. The supplier had sent email with invoice to her initially. The fraudster has sent email from the supplier's email address to her with the fraudulent invoice. The "reply to" had been altered so that her responses to the supplier went to the fraudster and not the supplier. The project manager is able to show there had been no unauthorised loginis to her Gmail and I am able to do the same meaning that it must have been the supplier who's email was hacked however without their co-operation we cannot necessarily prove. They just keep telling us that their bank has said their bank account was not hacked and isn't showing any unusual activity. They are now threatening us with a £1.5k late payment fee which they are willing to waive if we pay this week. I don't happen to have a spare £10k sitting around!
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 15 days ago.

Thanks, ***** ***** fail to see how this is your fault unless I am missing something (the facts are clear though, to me anyway). Who are they saying is liable here and if it's not you, why are you being chased for a £1.5K late payment fee when you have paid what was due?.
I think their conduct is very questionable - you may need to report them to Trading Standards (https://www.nationaltradingstandards.uk/contact/) and also defend a small claim if they make one against you.
I can give you details of how to do this.

Customer: replied 15 days ago.
Thanks Jim- their point is that the invoice I paid was not theirs... it just looked like theirs.13th of August, a fraudulent account accessed Cambridge Style Canopies ltd inbox/outbox, and sent a cloned mail, with the sent address which mirrored Brian's historic address.  This email contained an edited excel document invoice.Tom/CatherineAre bankers, Lloyds have examined all activity on our accounts and there is simply no evidence of hacking/cloning etc.
We have had millions of pounds of transactions through this account without a single issue.
The invoice was issued 23rd June and became overdue for payment on 23rd July.
Catherine has all our company details and bank account details.  The deposit was paid by Bacs into our account without issue.
We posted Tom a hard copy in case we were being hacked, hence you have all correct details.
The invoice you sent to us showed account as Nationwide BS.  We do not believe Nationwide allow business accounts hence should have raised concern from your side.We cannot see where Cambridgestyle Canopies is at fault, but remain thousands of pounds out of pocket.
The project cost us an extra day due to the fact we had to handball all materials to the roof top although we had been told there would be a crane on site to hoist to roof.   We did not charge for this extra day labour.
As a gesture of good will we will waive the late payment surcharge if paid this week.We can then issue your product guarantee certificateBest RegardsBrian
Expert:  JimLawyer replied 15 days ago.

If they sent you a hard copy of the invoice they may have more of a reason to look to you for payment (again).
They also say you should have checked the invoice details as they say Nationwide does not offer business accounts.
You say it was their email which was hacked though so we back to the root of the problem - would you agree it was their email account which was hacked? I am going off the details in your question.