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Protect Yourself from Wire Fraud

Most people are aware of the recent scam where you receive an email from a family member claiming an emergency and asking for money immediately.  While a few folks fall for this, we all hope that we are not one of those unaware people.

Someone in your organization could be subject to a similar scenario – being asked to send a wire by email when your email has been hacked. Hackers and cybercriminals have increased their sophistication and business owners should be very cautious about their wire procedures. In the past few years, fraudsters have stolen millions of dollars from businesses by compromising emails.

The FBI defines Business Email Compromise (BEC) as a sophisticated scam targeting businesses working with foreign suppliers and businesses that regularly perform wire transfer payment.  They target the employees that perform wire transfers.

Here are three versions of BEC scams:

1. CEO Fraud – fraudsters identify themselves as high-level executives, state the matter is confidential and time-sensitive, and initiate a wire transfer to their account. The email is from a look-alike domain name that is one or two letters off from the target company’s true domain name.

For example, if the target company’s domain was “example.com” the thieves might register “examp1e.com” (substituting the letter “L” for the numeral 1) or “example.co,” and send messages from that domain. This same scenario could happen with law firms and attorneys.

2. The Bogus Invoice Scheme – the scammer compromises the executive’s email account, looks for an invoice from a regular customer and asks that accounts payable send the payment to a new account.

3. Account Compromise – the fraudster hacks an employee’s email account and emails legitimate customers saying their account is past due and gives them a different account to send the payment.

There are ways to protect yourself and your hard-earned money.  Some of them are:

Protect yourself from viruses that allow you to be compromised.

Protect yourself from fraudulent wire payments.

United Southern Bank is committed to helping protect your funds.  If wire transfer requests are made by email, fax or through online banking, we will call an authorized account holder to verify not only the amount, but the specific wire instructions.

Additionally, for business customers who wire funds often without coming into the bank, we have a Funds Transfer Agreement that sets forth who is authorized to request transfers and a password for verification.

Rest assured we are working every day to protect you and your money.

Sources: knowBe4.com; barkley.com; and trendmicro.com; Francisca Lara, USB ISO

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