Wire transfer scams occur when the scammers send companies emails that deceitfully instruct the victim into wire transfer fraud. Generally, the fraudulent emails are sent under phony vendor email addresses to the inbox of company executives or accountants.
Since email scams do not originate from actual vendors, the message itself usually does not contain infected files or links. More so, administrators cannot simply block out entire legitimate domains such as Gmail.
Unfortunately, all businesses can be targeted and tricked into illegitimate wire transfers. Scammers may use many methods of impersonating the sender address, so knowing how to recognize scams and understanding how they work is your company’s best defense.
Wire scams are on the rise.
According to an FBI report from May 2017, businesses worldwide have lost about $5.3 billion due to wire transfer email scams.
Why is this scam so successful?
Cyber criminals who perpetrate wire scams are careful researchers. Many times, they gather information using public records or make inquiries by calling businesses directly. For example, the perpetrator can call a company and find out when the executive is out of town.
The perpetrator will then know when to target the company while the executive cannot be easily reached for verification purposes. Once the money has been wired out, recovering funds becomes difficult to impossible.
What can be done to protect my business?
Many business-grade anti-spam services can help identify the real sender as part of the security features.
However, most experts agree that the best way to combat wire transfer scams is to
• Train all employees on how to spot fraudulent emails.
• Implement a checks and balances system in your company so that wiring money requires multiple approvals or phone verification.
• Call the US Secret Service office or report to your local FBI if you suspect that your company has been scammed. Additionally, contact your financial institution immediately.
Take the steps right now to prevent wire transfer scams and keep cyber criminals from defrauding your business.
These scams can be devastating, especially if a large sum of money is involved. However, the right preparation and knowledge could keep your business’s finances safe and untouched.