The FBI sent out a warning last month about email scams to conduct CEO fraud. Jeremy Pritchard of State Bank & Trust recently spoke of this at a meeting I attended. The estimate is that these scams have cost companies more than $2.3 billion in the past three years.
The attacker sends a message pretending to be the CEO and convinces someone to wire funds or provide personal information in response to the email. The scammers usually gain access to the executive’s individual mailbox or email the employees from a domain name that looks very similar to the company’s real domain name. If the scammers gain access to the individual mailbox, they take the time to learn more about the organization through searching for words that might show whether the company sends regular wire transfers or what language they use when interacting with their employees. Once they gain enough knowledge, they craft an email that sounds as if the executive wrote it.
The scary thing is that these emails are rarely caught in spam because they are targeted and not a mass email. The key to avoid being scammed is to educate yourself and your employees on spotting these types of emails. Encourage everyone to ask questions. Common phrases that you should look for include “needs to go out today,” “now” and “urgent payment.” Rarely will CEOs ask you to provide them with information they already have. If there is a link in an email, do not click on it. Instead, log in to your account through the website or call the requester to confirm.
If you are in the unfortunate position of falling for one of these scams, act immediately. Contact your bank and inform appropriate people within your organization. In situations where you’ve provided your personal information to a scammer, it might be a good idea to freeze your credit. Whatever you do, don’t stay quiet out of embarrassment and hope nothing bad will come of your honest mistake. The more quickly you take action, the more likely it is you can prevent or limit potential problems.
With over 17 years of experience in the legal arena as well as client management, Alisa brings her experience to Network 1’s team, clients and partners. She strives to be proactive in managing clients’ needs and expectations with an outcome of client satisfaction and retention.
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