In August of last year, three members of the Sharkansky team became licensed Certified Fraud Examiners (CFEs). One of our CFEs recently attended a training put on by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners where the speaker was a Boston Police Detective. He was educating the group on current electronic frauds. This FBI business email warning notice shows how this type of fraud is currently rampant in the Boston area. Our fraud and forensics team had informed another client about this scam and they were the recipient of one of these e-mails yesterday. The same also happened to at least three other clients of ours.
This scam is occurring in the finance departments of small businesses between presidents, CFO’s, controllers etc. relating to wire transfers. Scammers hack into e-mail accounts and will use the exact e-mail of an executive to request a transfer or will use an e-mail so similar that you would not easily notice a difference. These perpetrators study the history of communications between executives and employees so that the communication appears authentic and common in the ordinary course of business. As an example, you may receive an e-mail seemingly from within the company, from the Company’s CEO requesting a wire transfer to an account for some product or consulting fee etc. Even if you were to respond back to the e-mail, the response is sent to the hacker. The wire will be sent and the fraud has occurred. Certain safeguards put in place for fraud prevention from banking institutions may require a call to the person initiating the wire to confirm that the wire request is legitimate. Unfortunately, the person authorized to send the wire believes it to be an authentic request.
Whereas many of you wire money often, you are a prime target. I just wanted to make you aware of this situation and I would suggest confirming via phone or conversation ANY wire requests with those requesting transfers, even seemingly normal ones.
I hope that you never require this advice, but I wanted to share as I felt it was applicable to you. The Boston Police detective said that their department is inundated and they cannot keep up with the amount of reports they are receiving. In the past week I have personally seen it happen twice.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns or if you see any suspicious requests. I would suggest educating your controllers and CFOs and anyone who handles money transfers for your company. As always if you suspect any fraudulent activity in your organization, please call.