The Grande Prairie RCMP is warning companies around the region after an influx of business email related frauds have been reported in Alberta. Mounties say these scams usually target companies who send funds electronically. In a release from RCMP, they say perpetrators of this kind of fraud gain access to companies’ email accounts by phishing or spoofing, and then they use this access to get employees to forward payments to a bank account they control.
Some of the signs businesses could be dealing with someone who is trying to commit fraud are emails that usually have a signature are the end no longer do, emails requesting payment in an out-of-character and urgent fashion, and any email requests to change the banking information. Another sign is if there is a predetermined payment agreement that includes the method of payment, invoice date, amount owing, the payment itself or the primary contact changes suddenly or is asked to change suddenly.
According to RCMP one of the best way to avoid being caught by this time a scam is to follow up on any request with a phone call, getting verbal confirmation from a trusted contact. Other ways RCMP says businesses and individuals can avoid being victimized is to add known email addresses to contacts and set flags or filters for unknown emails, make sure email passwords are strong using numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols and is over ten characters long. Attackers may also try to gain access to personal information and do so by sending emails requesting verifications of an account or purchase, RCMP advises that reputable businesses will never ask for this information via email, and say to never provide any sort of sensitive information over email.
If there is a question or a doubt about whether or not an email is legitimate, RCMP says to never click on any links or download any attachments. The perpetrators of these types of scams may also create websites that look legitimate, RCMP advice if you have never heard of the company or person before, to double check before supplying any sensitive information.
More information about how to prevent becoming the victim of a Business Information Compromise scan can be found on the RCMP website. Fraud victims are told to contact local law enforcement and to report the incident online to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.