ABCD’s of Vendor Impersonation Fraud

It is no secret that cybercriminals tactics have become increasingly sophisticated. They have figured out the most effective ways to extract money from unsuspecting victims, taking advantage of lack of awareness and human emotion. 

After more than a decade of processing payments, Paymerang has often encountered impersonators. By having processes and procedures in place, we have protected our clients from paying thousands of fraudulent vendors, totaling over $2 million in attempted fraud. Some of these fraudsters ask for a large sum right away, while others send invoices for negligible amounts in hopes of breaching the system and pilfering more later.

Paymerang’s payment processors are enrolled in extensive quarterly training to stay up to date on fraud trends and recognize impersonators of all types. As an easy way to remember the qualities of fraudsters, we have compiled the ABCD’s of vendor impersonation: Aggressors, Bouncers, Clueless, and Desperately Hasty. 

A – Aggressor

If a “vendor” is demanding money, take a pause. They may just be rude, but there is also a good chance they are trying to play on your emotions by fabricating a sense of urgency to get paid or access your network before you question anything.

We advise that you call the number you have on file for that vendor and confirm the payment amount and modality.

B – Bouncer

No, this is not someone guarding a night club. This is when someone bounces around from payment clerk to payment clerk until someone does what they ask. Collaboration and communication are key components of keeping confidential data secure.

C – Clueless

Sometimes fraudsters pretend to be oblivious to extract potentially profitable information. They may pretend to be someone from a legitimate vendor who “lost track” of an invoice and asks for an invoice number or whether a certain payment has been fulfilled. Be vigilant and do not take the bait.

D – Desperately Hasty

Much like the “Aggressor”, these fraudsters pose as accounts receivable clerks and request payment in what seems like an unreasonably short amount of time. These instances may be legitimate, but it is more likely they are trying to pressure you into sending them a payment in haste. Once you pay, it is nearly impossible to get the money back. If an instance like this occurs, stay vigilant, stick to your processes, and report the individual if they are found to be an impersonator. 

These are the four main categories we have seen vendor impersonators and fraudsters fall under. If any of these red flags arise, remember to take a moment to think, alert your team, and check with your vendor. 

To learn more, click here. 

Michael Doerr

Michael Doerr

Mike Doerr is Vice President of Business Development for Paymerang for the Public Sector. Prior to coming to Paymerang, he served for over a decade as a leading political and non-profit consultant in Virginia. He lives in Richmond Virginia with his wife Liz, their son Luke and pet corgi named Bowie.