Latest email scam targets businesses

The latest email scam that is specifically targeted at businesses, resulting in huge financial losses.
Financial Fraud Action UK has recently warned that conmen are targeting individuals in business by sending them emails which appear to be from their senior colleagues, such as the MD, CEO or Finance Director.

The email requests urgent payment to be made into bank accounts outside of the normal procedure. Often a reason is given such as it’s a highly sensitive acquisition, merger or to secure new business.  The email address often looks legitimate and is signed by the sender.

It has been reported that some fraudsters have followed up with phone calls to appear legitimate and even a second person can be introduced posing as a lawyer or regulator. The account to which the payment is to be made is controlled by the fraudsters and if the funds are received they are immediately withdrawn with no likelihood of you seeing them again.

In recent weeks, two of our customers have suffered such a scam and not all insurance policies cover the loss.  At J Bennett & Son we have received a similar email.

If the payment is authorised ie. seen as legitimate and then authorised by someone in the company then there is unlikely to be insurance cover unless you have specifically taken it out. Insurance policies tend only to cover unauthorised ones. The average amount given to these fraudsters is around £35,000 but much higher amounts have been reported.

How can you spot them and what to do to avoid them?

1. Check unusual payment requests directly with the individual who has sent them – ideally in person or by telephone.

2. Don’t reply to the email or use the contact details from the email. It’s easy for the fraudsters to set up a look-alike email address.

3. Review your internal procedures and create a documented internal process for requesting and authorising of payments.

4. Check your insurance policy to see what cover you have.

5. Be cautious of unexpected emails which request urgent bank transfers even if it seems the message has come from someone in the company.

6. Create and regularly change strong email passwords.

7. Report the email to the Internet Service Provider (ISP), contact your bank and report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or use their online tool here

If you have questions relating to this or any of our services, then please don't hesitate to call us on 01494 450450 or contact us here