THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) want you to make sure you verify exactly who you’re dealing with before sending any money to anyone, anywhere for any reason.
The OPP in Eastern Ontario have responded to numerous calls for service from sports associations and clubs. Most of the victims receive emails from fraudsters who impersonate a senior executive or president of the organization/club, by imitating email addresses.
OPP say that the fraudsters send realistic-looking emails that try to trick the treasurer of the association or club into wiring money to a third party through e-transfer. The emails will make the request sound urgent and confidential. For example, they may say the money is needed to pay an overdue invoice or equipment rentals.
This lucrative scam can cost associations or clubs tens of thousands of dollars. CEO scams are a growing trend that targets small businesses, associations, clubs and large corporations alike.
Tips to protect yourself:
- Verify the sender’s email address-scammers will often create web-based addresses that are very similar to legitimate ones, with just one or two different letters.
- Encourage your association or club to create a standard process for money transfers that requires multiple levels of approvals and confirmation.
- Limit the details you share publicly. Fraudsters use information that’s available online and on social media to find potential victims and to time their fraud.
If you or someone you know suspect they’ve been a victim of the CEO Scam, contact your local police service or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. You can also call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or report the incident online at https://www.tipsubmit.com/start.htm