Huge losses after cyber scams intercept the corporate e-mail
2020 / 10 / 30

E-mails look like real

Cyber ​​scammers are evolving, as are their fraudulent schemes – e-mails are becoming increasingly more similar to real ones.

"Falsified scam messages look as if they were being sent by a real sender. The signature of the sender's e-mail appears to be normal and real contracts negotiated between the parties circulate in the correspondence. The attached invoices and photos of items or objects also correspond to the usual form. Therefore, even if you are vigilant, it is difficult to notice inconsistencies," says Marius Barisevičius, a lawyer representing one of the affected companies.

Moreover, scammers can even intercept e-mail account details.

"Scammers intercept the correspondence and become fully involved in it, and most importantly – they change the payment details at the very last moment, thus diverting funds to the bank accounts managed by fraudsters in various foreign banks. Correspondence is simulated even after the parties realise there is something wrong with the payment. For example, when asked by e-mail whether the business partner has received the funds and the real recipient responding it has not received them, the scammers soon send a letter from the fake mailbox confirming that everything is in order and the transfer was allegedly received to a different account. In the meantime, they send a fake order to the business partner indicating that the money is transferred to a real company account, deceiving both corresponding parties in this way and winning time necessary for the scammers," says the lawyer.


Pay attention to changes in bank account details

In accordance with M. Barisevičius, the first thing companies should pay attention to in order to avoid such cases is the business partner's rush to pay and the changed business partner's bank account details. Another signal may also be a bank that does not match the country in which the company is registered or a letter that does not correspond to the context of previous correspondence.

"In case of the slightest doubt, it is important to double-check with another channel before making a payment: this could be a call to a known employee of the business partner because the email can already be intercepted by scammers. A single call can help a company avoid the thousands of losses that result from transferring funds to fraudsters,” says the lawyer. It is also best to check the contacts of the new business partner in the official sources of the company, rather than the invoice received by e-mail.


Once you are on the bait, it is essential to respond quickly

Lawyer M. Barisevičius advises: "If nevertheless, you do get caught on the hook of fraudsters and transfer the money, then promptness and quick contact with the right authorities are very important."For example, contacting the bank for the possibility to cancel the transfer, forming the responsible authorities of the foreign country, to hold funds in a foreign bank account. Also, contacting your lawyers immediately who will advise the company on possible actions.

"Expeditious recourse to the appropriate authorities often helps to recover a large part of the funds transferred, if not all. In the above-mentioned case, more than half of the amount transferred to the fraudsters was returned to the customer's account after urgent contact with the bank regarding the cancellation of the transfer. The other part remained appropriate. The criminal investigation continues in respect of the criminally misappropriated assets”, said M. Barisevičius.

If the executed orders cannot be cancelled, the only solution remains to contact the law enforcement authorities and try to recover the fraudulently misappropriated funds.


For more information:

AVERUS lawyer
Marius Barisevičius

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