Combating Fraudulent Invoices

It is a common a nuisance every business person encounters at some time. As soon as one publishes something on the company, brand or patent register scammers start sending out fake invoices. These letters look like an official invoice at first glance. The fine print, however, states that it is a mere offer to be listed in a private register and that paying the invoice is deemed to be an acceptance of this offer. These invoices lead to significant damage, especially to first time founders, every year and — at least under German law — constitute a criminal offence. aims at ending this scheme once and for all.

Schummelrechnungen has several ways to make the life for the scammers as unpleasant as possible. A very effective way to prevent them from obtaining any money is warning all German banks whenever the team becomes aware of a new invoice. The banks then “greylist” the bank accounts mentioned on the invoice and stop transfers from their customers that fall for the scam. This significantly reduces the scammer’s profits.

Another approach of is to inform about the fraud and to publish information that might help victims to recover their losses. This works particularly well if the scammers operate from a corporation. In these instances one can identify the immediate perpetrators from the company register and share that information with the victims. Then, they cannot only bring action against the corporation but also directly against the directors. Once they have obtained a judgment the challenge is to find assets which can be seized in order to enforce the judgment. This is where NorthData comes into play. Many perpetrators operate a network of companies, often across multiple jurisdictions, which they use for their fraudulent actions but also to launder the money they receive that way. Keeping track of this networks allows us to make a good guess where the criminals currently store their assets. Upon request we share this information with the victims and hope to help them recover their losses. Exposing the people behind the fraud and uncovering their networks has already brought the team some threats from the criminals which they see as proof that their work really does undermine the scammers’ “business model”.

In some instances, brings legal action against the scammers on its own. In these cases the team also relies on NorthData in order to identify the proper respondents and come up with effective ways of enforcement. 
Thus, it can be said that information is a key part of combating fraudulent invoices. Using NorthData helps to analyse criminal structures and to stay updated on new developments within the fake invoice networks.