This article has been prepared to spread the word of an email scam which we encountered and fortunately had the procedures in place to combat but please read as it is a sneaky one!
Our Finance Director received an email from what appeared to be from our Chairman’s email address, with what was originally seen as a genuine request to make an urgent payment. The email had the usual pleasantries but given the urgency of the payment request was brief.
The email asked confirmation of the information required to make the payment and our Finance Director provided a list of the information that he needed to process the payment.
In reply the ‘Chairman’ said:
Here is the information to process a transfer of £ 18,800
Sort code : 205513
Account number : 03099202
Account name :Valeria Horvathova
Process and email me once it is done .
I will appreciate a swift email response.
It was clear at this point that something wasn’t right and our Finance Director became suspicious. He tried to call the Chairman who was unfortunately unavailable, but decided to reply with a three security questions which he knew only the Chairman could answer. Needless to say there was no reply.
Later when the Chairman returned his call it was clear that the email was fraudulent and this was reported to the Action Fraud helpline.
The adviser informed our Finance Director that he had already received 4 calls that day reporting the same.
The scam is that the fraudsters are able to mimic the inbound email address of a person with authority, they do not need to hack the email account, in our case the Chairman. It is loose regulation of providers and manipulation of email account settings that enables them to do this.
In a small business where the relationships between decision makers is close it is easy to fall victim of these scams. Fortunately our Finance Director was able to see through the façade and used security measures to protect our business from fraud.
Please spread the word and prevent these criminals from ruining our businesses!