AUGUST 24, 2021
Criminals are hacking a sender’s email and falsifying the wire instructions before the email gets to the recipient.
In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, it’s still important to be deliberate about certain things. Verifying wire instructions that you receive via email is one of those things.
Cyber criminals can intercept and alter an email that contains wire transfer instructions (routing and account number). If you send a wire without independently verifying those instructions – you risk losing that money.
In other words, these criminals are hacking a sender’s email and falsifying the wire instructions before the email gets to the recipient. Once the recipient initiates a transaction using the falsified instructions, the die is cast. The criminals receive the funds, withdraw them immediately, and vanish. By the time you realize you’ve been scammed, the funds are gone and it’s likely too late to recover them.
Verification means calling the person to whom you are sending money, using a number you have previously called, to verbally confirm the instructions. You can’t simply take emailed instructions at face value; you must check the information.
Your best protection against wire transfer fraud is education and discipline. Talk to your staff members who are involved in making wire payments. Implement these best practices for sending wire transfers:
- Verify the authenticity of each emailed wire transfer request. Don’t call the number on the current wire transfer request. Call a known contact using a number you have previously called.
- Scrutinize all email correspondence regarding wiring funds. Understand who is requesting money and why.
- Never make any payment changes without verifying the change with the intended recipient.
- Alert us the moment you detect any irregularities.
- Check your business insurance policy to determine if it covers financial losses due to cybersecurity fraud.
One reality of modern life is that we want everything done fast. Starbucks has taught us to pre-order our coffee so we don’t have to spend time standing in line. Amazon has shown us that we can buy what we want, and have it delivered with a few clicks—and increasingly we can have it in our hands the same day. Cyber criminals know money moves fast and they are ready to exploit any impatience or lapses in attention.
When it comes to protecting your money, slowing down long enough to make sure you know exactly who is on the other end of a transaction is your single best safeguard against fraud. If you have any questions or concerns about how to make sure you’re following prudent wire transfer protocols, please contact us at (703) 481-4589.
Jeff W. Dick
Chairman & CEO
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