Money wiring — the business of transferring cash electronically is more and more prevalent both with businesses and individuals. As the practice becomes more commonplace, internet criminals have become much more sneaky and savvy. Take one of our client’s cases for instance only last week. The owner of the company was at a trade show doing business in NYC. His comptroller received an email to wire $45,000 to a customer account. The email came from the owner, the client name was a past client, the bank a past bank they had wired money to. The comptroller sent another email to confirm all details, the owner replied appropriately and immediately the details….a third email went back to the owner to confirm the request and the internal owner’s email….all came back normal….except for one thing…the owner never sent the email. Internet crooks had infiltrated the owner’s email account….saw his conversations with potential clients and used that information to get a false wire account out….very sophisticated indeed. The wire was sent! Luckily a phone call to let the owner know the wire was sent was made about 15 minutes later and the scam was discovered. They sprang into action quickly which was essential and called the local back, who traced the wire to a big Californian bank. They were able to freeze most of the money. The crooks then, not yet knowing the account was frozen came back the next day looking for even more money!
Lessons….never wire money without a personal contact….either by phone or in person…even if the request looks legitimate.
Never wire money to someone you never heard of. A government organization will never call you out of the blue and ask for money….never. There will not be a warrant for your arrest from any organization who you heard from just on line or over the phone.
If ever in doubt, call your friends at Cramer and Anderson and we can investigate any of these issues for you.