17.12.2015 - Sophisticated scam alert


Don't be taken in by this sophisticated scam

We've learned of a new form of scam, and wanted you to be on the look-out for it. There's some tips here on what to look for – and what you can do.

What is an executive impersonation scam?

Fraudsters pretend to be a senior executive in your own company to trick your finance department into transferring money to their account.

Their tactics are really convincing. They use publicly available information about companies to get the names of senior staff. Sometimes they even hack their email accounts, often on web-based services.

Then, using software that makes the email look genuine, they send a payment request that appears to be from someone like the finance director or chief executive.

Typically, the email asks for an urgent payment to be made. Often it will give a plausible reason for the exceptional circumstances, like the need to secure an important contract. The email – or a subsequent one – gives all the details needed for the transfer of funds to the fraudsters' account. Once the money arrives, they quickly withdraw it.









5 tips for avoiding executive impersonation scams







Be suspicious of any unexpected emails which asks for an urgent bank transfer – even if the message looks like it's from someone in your organisation



Check any unusual payment requests directly with the apparent sender, ideally in person or by telephone, to confirm they're genuine. But don't use any telephone numbers or email addresses in the suspicious email as they'll go directly back to the fraudster



Be alert to unusual wording that you wouldn't expect the real senior executive to use. There may be odd expressions, or incorrect spelling or grammar. Ask yourself: does this sound like the turn of phrase and tone of voice you'd expect from the real person?



Make sure that internal email passwords are strong



And if your company doesn't already have a well-documented internal process for requesting and authorising payments, create one.



Did you know..?

The current Inheritance Tax Threshold is £325,000