Mandate fraud is when someone gets you to change a direct debit, standing order or bank transfer mandate, by purporting to be an organisation you make regular payments to, for example a subscription or membership organisation or your business supplier.

Notify your bank immediately if you see any unusual activity on your account or suspect mandate fraud has occurred.

How can Mandate fraud occur?

  • You receive a letter in the post that appears to come from the company supplying a monthly magazine to you. It provides details of a new bank account and asks you to change the payment details to reflect this. The direct debit bank mandate is amended as instructed. The following month your magazine does not arrive and when you contact the publisher told that because your payment was cancelled you no longer have a subscription for the magazine.
  • Your online bank account has been hacked into by a fraudster and monthly payment details are altered so that the money is transferred to the fraudsters account.
  • you are contacted by someone pretending to be from an organisation you have a standing order with and request you change the order to reflect a change in their banking.  The standing order mandate is changed accordingly but next month the actual organisation fails to deliver your products or a membership has been cancelled as they did not receive their payment.
  • As a business you are contacted by someone pretending to be one of your suppliers and told they have changed their bank and could you amend the direct debit to reflect this. As a result the bank mandate is amended to the account that was provided. The next month you are contacted by your genuine supplier asking what has happened with the monthly payment.

Advice to avoid Mandate fraud

  • Don’t leave things like bills lying around for others to look at and record details of standing orders and direct debits. 
  • Always verify changes to financial arrangements with the organisation directly using established contact details you have on file. 
  • If you are concerned about the source of a call, ask the caller to give you a main switchboard number for you to be routed back to them. Alternatively, hang up and call them back using established contact details you have on file.
  • Check your bank statements carefully and report anything suspicious to your financial institution.

If fraud has been committed, report it to Action Fraud.

Source: Action Fraud UK