According to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), businesses and municipalities across the province are being targeted by two types of scams: the Business Executive scam and the Card Not Present scam. To prevent criminals from extorting money and personal information, the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) recommends that Ontario businesses confirm their emails and phone messages. They also recommended exercising patience when dealing with credit card numbers.
The Business Executive scam (alternatively called the Business Email Compromise) is comprised of fraudsters sending the victim an email that appears to come from an executive or supervisor in their own company who has the authority to request money transfers. In some cases, the fraudsters create an email address that mimics that of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or the fraudsters have compromised and used the CEO’s or CFO’s actual email account. The email indicates the “executive” is “working off?site” and has identified an outstanding payment that needs to be paid as soon as possible. The “executive” instructs the payment be made and provides a name and a bank account where the funds — generally a large dollar amount — are to be sent. Police report typical losses in excess of $100,000,000.
In the Card Not Present scam, Ontario businesses are targeted by fraudsters who claim to represent a regular supplier or an existing contractor. The scam targets businesses that have existing relationships and accounts with suppliers, wholesalers or contractors. The scam usually involves a spoofed email informing the buyers of a change in payment arrangements. The email notice provides ‘new’ banking details and requests that future payments be made to this ‘new’ account. Fraudsters are also calling local businesses and providing stolen credit card information in order to make large purchases. The spin is the urgency that is placed on the purchase and the supplier falls victim when they should have waited for the proper time in order for the purchase to clear. In many cases, the business owner is responsible for the outstanding amount.
The OPP has provided the following tips to prevent business scams:
- Beware of irregular email requests for urgent fund transfers.
- Prior to sending any funds or product, make contact with the requestor in person or by telephone to confirm that the request is legitimate.
- Watch for spelling and formatting errors and be wary of clicking on any attachments as they can contain viruses and spyware.
- Always wait the prescribed time from the specified credit card company before the items are delivered.
Those who suspect they or someone they know has been a victim of a Business Executive Scam the Card Not Present Scam are encouraged to contact their local police service and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or through their website.
More information on this scam and others can be found at the OPP or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre websites for preventative tips and fraud awareness. The Competition Bureau of Canada also offers The Little Black Book of Scams for additional educational and preventative tips to prevent fraud.