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Don’t Let “CEO Fraud” Compromise Your Business

January 7, 2016

bryan_johnsonTechnology has made the workplace more flexible and productive – from working virtually to conducting business on smartphones while on the go – business efficiency has increased dramatically.  While these advancements have innumerable benefits, there are also associated vulnerabilities.

If your organization relies heavily on e-mail communication to conduct business, you need to be aware of business e-mail compromise (BEC)BEC or “CEO fraud” is a rapidly growing scam targeting businesses that pay foreign suppliers using wire transfers.  “CEO fraud” traditionally occurs when legitimate business e-mail accounts are hacked through social engineering or computer intrusion techniques.

For example, your accountant gets an e-mail from your CFO who is traveling on business, requesting that he transfer funds to a vendor as soon as possible.  Since requests frequently come by e-mail, he wires the money, only to later find out the CFO didn’t send the e-mail request.

Here are three steps your company can take to ensure you don’t become one of the growing numbers of companies to fall victim to “CEO fraud:”

1) Scrutinize e-mail requests for fund transfers and look for telltale signs medium_e-mail_fraudof “CEO fraud.” Consider setting up an intrusion detection system rule that flags e-mails with slightly different e-mail configurations or extensions ( vs.

2) Follow up on e-mail communications in person or by phone to verify that a request is legitimate.  Always use the phone number you have on file for the requestor vs. the one listed in the e-mail.

3) Know your customers’ habits and pay attention to out of the ordinary requests or those that urge secrecy or immediacy. Consider requiring sign off by at least two executives for large transfers and hold requests for international wire transfers for an additional time period to verify legitimacy.

Armed with this knowledge, you can continue to enjoy the many benefits of technology while protecting your company.

Bryan Johnson

P&C Operations Manager

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