FORT FRANCES – NEWS – Scams and frauds don’t take a break. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, the scammers are busy trying to take your hard-earned money from you, or from your business.
The Rainy River District Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is warning District businesses to confirm emails due to recent scams known as the Business Executive scam, and the Card Not Present scam.
Businesses are being targeted by the Business Executive scam, also known as the Business Email Compromise. In this scam, the victim gets an email appearing to be from an executive or supervisor of a company having the authority to request money transfers or vendor payments.
In recent scams, the fraudster created an email address that mimics that of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Financial Officer (CFO) while other times the fraudster has compromised and used the CEO’s or CFO’s actual email account. The spoofed email message is sent to an employee authorized to conduct electronic transfers, indicating the business account is currently under routine audit (or unavailable for a specific reason) and provides a new account number.
The scammer then provides a name and a bank account where the funds are to be sent. The amounts are often large with OPP reporting losses in excess of $400 thousand dollars.
In the Card Not Present scam, businesses that have existing relationships and accounts with suppliers, wholesalers or contractors are targeted. Fraudsters who claim to represent an existing supplier or contractor send a spoofed email informing the buyers of a change in payment arrangements. The email provides ‘new’ banking details and requests future payments be made to this ‘new’ account, redirecting money to the scammer.
Businesses are urged to verify any sudden changes of accounts directly with the vendor through a proven practice. Review and establish internal policies that help build awareness of frauds that can help mitigate risk. Pay attention to small details in emails including spelling, grammar, punctuation and clerical errors. Be alert to unexpected changes and do not solely rely on email transactions to verify information. In recent scams, the fraudsters used documentation including letterhead and email addresses similar to the legitimate address. However, upon closer inspection, the scammer had added one letter in the email address.
If you or someone you know suspect they’ve been a victim or a Business Executive scam or the Card Not Present scam, contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.
For more information, visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre website (https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca/index-eng.htm) for preventative tips and fraud awareness. The Competition Bureau of Canada also offers The Little Black Book of Scams (https://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04341.html) for additional educational and preventative tips to prevent fraud.