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Business scam reported throughout region

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(FORT FRANCES, ON) The Rainy River District Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) are warning District businesses to confirm emails due to recent scams known as the Business Executive scam and the Card Not Present scam.

Businesses in the Rainy River District are being targeted by the Business Executive scam, also known as the Business Email Compromise. In this scam, the victim gets an email appearing to be from an executive or supervisor of a company having authority to request money transfers or vendor payment.

In recent scams, the fraudster created an email address that mimics that of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or Chief Financial Officer (CFO) while other times the fraudster have compromised and used the CEO’s or CFO’s actual email account. The spoofed email message is sent to an employee authorized to conduct electronic transfers, indicating the business account is current under routine audit (or unavailable for a specific reason) and provides a new account number. The scammer then provides a name and account where the funds are to be sent. The amounts are large with OPP reporting losses in excess of $400 thousand dollars.

In the Card Not Present scam, 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 payments be made to this ‘new’ account, redirecting money to the scammer.

Business are urged to verify any sudden changes of accounts directly with the vendor through a proven practice. Review and establish internal policies that help build awareness of frauds that can help mitigate risk. Pay attention to small details in emails including spelling, grammar, punctuation and clerical errors. Be alerted to unexpected changes and do not solely rely on email transactions to verify information. In recent scams, the fraudsters used documentation including letterhead and email addresses similar to the legitimate address. However the scammer has added one letter in the email address.

Victims of a Business Executive scam or the Card Not Present scam, contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122 and the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

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