E-mail fraud: Company suffers damage in the millions

Scammers posed as long-term business partners via e-mail. They shared a new bank account, which was then transferred to.

In a press release, the Baden-Württemberg State Criminal Police Office warned Württemberg from an email scam. A company based in Baden-Württemberg was injured. It transferred “more than one million euros” to fraudsters who pretended to be long-term business partners with new bank details. The fraud was only discovered when the actual business partner reported that he had not received any payments.

According to the LKA Baden-Württemberg, the perpetrators “Granted access to the e-mail inbox of a company employee”. They had been reading his correspondence for several weeks. At the right moment, the scammers reacted. You registered as an established business customer and informed the employee of your new bank details for the settlement of all future liabilities. As a result, the company repeatedly transferred large amounts to the specified account number.

E-mail fraud was detected by a payment complaint from the real long-term business partner

Closed The exact circumstances were only checked when the right business partner complained that outstanding payments had not yet been settled. The company then found out that the email allegedly sent by the partner was fake. They were caught in an email scam in which scammers pretended to be the business partner’s identity. The criminals knew all the details of the previous business relationship.

Because of the damage done, the managing director immediately contacted his company’s commercial bank. Immediately afterwards, he informed the cybercrime hotline set up by the Central Contact Point for Cybercrime (ZAC) at the Baden-Württemberg State Criminal Police Office (LKA BW) about the incident. As the LKA BW announced, they took up initial investigations. They are trying to “seize funds in the accounts of the perpetrators”.

The State Criminal Police Office of Baden-Württemberg advises

“Fraud cases like this are known to the police cyber specialists. Email fraud is a lucrative business. The perpetrators are very creative and use various ways to deceive small and large companies and institutions with fake emails.

In particular, every message received in your institution with the notification of the allegedly changed bank details of your business partner should give rise to a telephone confirmation of the new bank details. Even in the case of incoming invoices with high claims, the police recommend that the bank details given be compared by telephone, even for long-standing business partners. Access your contacts’ own address book. The ZAC’s detailed recommendations for action are available for download on the LKA BW website and can be accessed via the following link: www.lka-bw.de/zac. The LKA BW explains the most common variants and recommends specific countermeasures.”

Recommendations for action after damage has occurred

Make a report to the police as soon as possible. The police can then immediately initiate official measures to secure assets. In particular, share the following points:

  • Date of completed payment transfer
  • Total

  • Bank account target account
  • Bank details for outgoing account

    Forward the fraudulent emails to the police if possible

    as an attachment in the original.

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