I have long been warning you about the Business Email Compromise scam which is costing unwary companies including Amazon and Facebook a billion dollars in just the last year according to the U.S. Secret Service. At its essence the scam most often involves a business receiving an email that appears to come from a corporate officer or someone with which the company does business requesting a payment be wired for an apparent legitimate bill or purpose. Now the threat is spreading to churches. Louisiana’s Bossier Financial Crimes Task Force is warning churches that the scam has been used to victimize local churches that have received what appear to be emails from their pastors asking them to wire money to accounts and people named in the emails. In these particular instances in Louisiana, the emails come from email addresses that appear at first glance to be that of the pastors, but a closer inspection will disclose that it is coming from a different email provider than the pastor uses.
The Business Email Compromise scam is being used effectively against businesses, but as indicated by the attacks on the Louisiana churches, its use is spreading to churches and can be expected to spread further to being used to target other organizations and even individuals. The key to protecting yourself, your company or your organization from this scam is to first be skeptical whenever you get a request to wire money because once money has been wired, it is gone forever which is why it is a favorite method of payment for scammers. The second thing that we all should do is to confirm the legitimacy of any payment request before making payments of any kind.