VicPD Financial Crime detectives are warning local businesses after investigators noted an increase in the “Business E-mail Compromise” scam.
The scam is sophisticated and begins when an employee in accounting or someone in a financial position within a company is targeted by somebody posing as the CEO or a high-ranking employee.
The scammer initially sends a realistic e-mail requesting an urgent wire transfer to settle an account or pay an invoice or secure a business deal. Often they will send a realistic looking invoice or bill and will stress the urgency or confidentiality of the wire transfer.
The latest investigation saw a local company send $50,000.
“There are a number of ways companies can prevent this from happening to them,” said Financial Crime Sgt. Brent Keleher. “Carefully examine the properties of the e-mail address making the request as often one letter is off or a period is inserted. Also, establish a process that requires multiple approvals for wire transfers and limit the amount of employee information online. Often the scammers get information on their victims from social media or company websites.”
If you believe that you have been a victim of a scam, contact the bank immediately to freeze the wire transfer and advise that you have been a victim of fraud. The sooner that the scam is identified and reported, the stronger the likelihood that money may be recovered.
It is also important to report it to your local police agency. In Sooke, the RCMP can be reached at 250-642-5241.
For more details on this scam and ways to protect yourself, visit the Anti-fraud centre online.
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