Scam of the day – October 27, 2012 – Business identity theft scam

A new scam that targets small businesses instead of individual people has recently become quite common.  The scam starts when a small business receives an email or in some circumstances  a snail mail letter purporting to be from one of the businesses’ suppliers.  It is easy to forge an email or snail mail letter to appear that it comes from a real company.  In the email or letter the scammer provides a new address or bank account to which to send payments.  Some of these emails even contain an email address to which the customer can confirm that the notice is legitimate.  Of course, such an address contained in a forged email will also be phony.   Unfortunately, many companies are falling for this scam and sending payments to scammers.

TIPS

Always verify a change in address or banking information directly with your supplier by phone through a telephone number that you know is accurate.  It is also helpful to confirm the email address from which an email comes purporting to be from one of your suppliers to see if it exactly matches the email address of communications you know were truly from the company in the past although this is not enough to know whether to trust the later email if the addresses match because the suppliers’ email may have been hacked into.