Online Bank Fraud

02.07.2023 Business REVEALED: CEO Scam, Fraudsters’ New Way of Defrauding Employees

Published 2nd Jul, 2023

By Joseph Adeiye

FIJ has reported the different ways fraudsters steal through phishing. But phishers are now using a new scheme to catch businesses and workers off guard.

Truecaller, a popular phone services and third party caller app, sent a message to many of its users after it almost fell victim of the CEO Scam in June. In the message was a warning and a link.

“The ‘CEO Scam’ is one trick that’s been causing headaches for many people, from individuals to businesses. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill phishing scam; it’s a sophisticated game of deception that’s catching many people off guard,” Truecaller wrote in its message to users.

“This happened to us… Just last week, various Truecaller employees received a WhatsApp message from a sender claiming to be our co-founder, Alan Mamedi. The message was simple but urgent, ‘Please get back to me as soon as you get my text. Thanks. Alan Mamedi.'”

READ ALSO: ALERT: Phishers Targeting YouTube Account Owners

Mamedi did not send the message, and Truecaller already had measures to determine if that kind of message was authentic or not.

It is not really harmless, despite Truecaller easily detecting the fraudulent message.

According to Barclays, “a criminal poses as a senior person in the business in order to persuade staff to make an urgent payment. The request is often made via email, sometimes when the senior person is out of the office”.

CEO Scam always begins in the form of an urgent email or text message from a company’s chief executive or a high-ranking executive. They will present factual business antecedents to convince the recipients that they are in fact speaking with that executive officer before asking for sensitive information or a quick bank transfer.

So, because the email address and phone details look right, employees may fail to double check. The message seems genuine and there will be little resistance because of hierarchical differences.

READ ALSO: Two Nigerians Scam $6m From 400 US Citizens

Experts have noted that these messages go through social networks and work apps such as WhatsApp, LinkedIn and Twitter.

CEO Scam can also be very sophisticated due to the benefit of artificial intelligence. Some scammers use deep fakes, including the cloned voices or images of chief executives from targeted organisations.

To stay safe from CEO Scam, employees and professionals must be more cautious.

Always double check the source of messages and verify unexpected requests. Sensitive information and funds should be released with extra verification, no matter who is making the request.

Be wary of the urgency of a message. Scammers take advantage of the urgency factor in order to pressurise potential victims. Verify requests and identities first.

Organisations can come up with house rules with regards to sharing sensitive information. Employees who know that they ought not share sensitive information over WhatsApp or Twitter messages can easily tell when an impostor approaches them through the wrong channels of communication.

Employees can also receive periodic training to better handle sensitive information and payments.

There are more ways to keep scammers and impostors outside the workplace. Companies can do better to control how much information about executives is public, enforce reliable two-factor verification systems and handle out-of-office automated replies with care.

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Published 2nd Jul, 2023

By Joseph Adeiye


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