Members of the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch and Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) are warning Ontario businesses to confirm their emails and phone messages due to two recent scams known as the Business Executive scam and the Card Not Present scam, according to a news release from the OPP on May 16.
Ontario businesses and municipalities are being targeted by the Business Executive scam, also known as the Business Email Compromise, where the victim gets an email appearing to be from an executive or supervisor in their company that has the authority to request money transfers. Sometimes the fraudsters create an email address that mimics that of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Financial Officer (CFO) while other times the fraudsters have compromised and used the CEO’s or CFO’s actual email account, according to the release. The spoofed email message is sent to an employee authorized to conduct wire transfers, indicating the executive is working off‐site and has identified a payment that needs to be paid as soon as possible. The scammer provides a name and a bank account where the funds are to be sent. The amounts are often large with police reporting typical losses in excess of $100 thousand.
In the Card Not Present scam, Ontario businesses that have existing relationships and accounts with suppliers, wholesalers or contractors are targeted. Fraudsters who claim to represent an existing supplier or contractor send a spoofed email informing the buyers of a change in payment arrangements. The email provides “new” banking details and requests that future payments be made to this “new” account, redirecting money to the scammer.
Fraudsters are also calling local businesses and providing stolen credit card information in order to make large purchases, according to the release. The scam comes in with the urgency placed on the purchase, causing the supplier to fall victim when they should have waited the proper time in order for the purchase to clear. Often the business owner is left responsible for the outstanding amount.
If you or someone you know suspect they’ve been a victim of a Business Executive Scam or the Card Not Present Scam, contact your local police service and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre by phone at 1-888-495-8501 or through their website.
For more information on this scam and others, visit 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.
Tips From The OPP 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.