Have you heard of the CEO scam? It’s a phishing scam that you may want to tell your coworkers to keep an eye out for.

How does it work?

The CEO scam works like this: The scammer sends you an email with a spoofed email address. It may include corporate logos and look like it’s coming from your boss or CEO. The email may include personal information about you (your name, your position, project, etc.).

According to the Competition Bureau, the scammer (posing as the CEO) may request you transfer money to a client or account. They send realistic-looking emails, requesting urgent wire transfers for what appears to be legitimate reasons. They may say they are “securing an important contract”, “a confidential transaction” or “updating a supplier’s payment information”. They may urge you not to tell anyone in the organization.

Alternatively, they may instruct you to buy iTunes or VISA gift cards. The fraudster then asks for the PIN for the gift cards which allows the person to use them immediately, according to the RCMP. t

Believing that the request is real, the employee transfers the money or buys the gift cards —only to find out that the email was a scam and the money is gone.

Tips to avoid being duped by the CEO scam

  • Never reply with personal, confidential, or financial information to “verify” identity
  • Carefully inspect the sender’s email address. Does it have any missing letters?
  • Consider limiting the information available on sites like LinkedIn or on your company website that may help fraudsters pull off this scam
  • Always, always double check with executives or your CEO when you receive a request for a wire transfer or gift card purchase
  • Independently verify the request by calling the person directly and not using the contact information provided in the email
  • Share information about this scam with your coworkers so they are aware of it and know what to look for

Have you been a victim?

If you’ve been the victim of a CEO scam report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (1-888-495-8501), the Competition Bureau (1‑800‑348‑5358) or the RCMP.

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About Consumer Protection BC

We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.