Email Invoice Fraud proves persistent worldwide, and Mauritius is no exception.
This fraud, which involves hacked email accounts of a business and its customer seems to be steadily increasing in Mauritius.
In a nutshell, this fraud happens when a company is tricked into changing bank account details for a significant payment. Fraudsters normally analyse the business relationship between the targeted companies, hack a business’s email account to find a customer invoice which they copy, modify with their bank details, and—at the right time - poses as the usual supplier, and make a formal request to the customer to pay into the fraudulent account. The request, often, with a sense of urgency - so you don’t have time to give much thought to it - may also come with a justifying explanation like, the usual bank account is under audit.
Companies in Mauritius are being targeted specially via their Accounts Department and unfortunately are falling prey to the scam.
It’s worth noting that recovery of the funds from the fraudulent account is very difficult and that every company is vulnerable to invoice fraud.
Be vigilant. Be in control…
Education of employees and constant vigilance is key to prevention. These three simple steps will help protect your finances.
- Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic. Always check the sending email address and financial related instructions contained therein and don’t trust phone numbers displaying during the call as fraudsters can make any phone number appear on an handset. Confirm the email or call genuineness by calling the company back on the official phone number which you may already have on file.
- Always look out for any irregularities on invoices including a change of name, bank details, amount or address. Be suspicious if it differs from the last time you used it and confirm any changes with the company requesting the amendment by using contact details you already have on record.
- Don’t click on ‘reply’ to answer back. Instead, use the ‘forward' feature and key in your correspondent’s email address you have on file. This will ensure that you are not, in fact, responding to any potential scammer.
In case an email address has been compromised, you may take up some basic measures as initial response.
- Change the password. If you still have access to the email account, immediately amend the password to a strong one that is not related to the prior password. If the fraudster changed the password, locking you out of the account, you’ll need to reclaim that account, usually a matter of using the 'forgot your password’ feature and answering security questions, or using the backup email address.
- Check email settings. Hackers may have emails forwarded to them or associated phone numbers amended.
- Inform the Bank. Make sure to inform the Bank of the situation especially if you or your company have an agreement with the Bank to send financial instructions via email. You may provide a temporary alternative email to the Bank, if necessary. It is recommended to inform people in your contact list so they ignore any suspicious message coming from you - until you let them know that the issue is resolved.
- Clean your system. Scan your computers/mobile devices or the company's network for malware. If malware is detected, change the password again to lock fraudsters out.
If you think you’ve been victim of fraud, contact your Account Executive immediately.
Don’t make “WannaCry”… make you cry
That campaign has, during the weekend ending on 14th May 2017, infected over 10,000 organisations and 200,000 individuals in about 150 countries, with numerous victims impacted in countries such as Taiwan, Russia, Turkey, Germany, Vietnam, Japan, Spain, Ukraine, Philippines, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, among others. The whole National Health Service (NHS) in England was also infected by the ransomware.
This variant of the original Ransomware has been exploiting vulnerability in Windows and has wormlike capabilities - allowing it to spread by itself quickly. Like other ransomware, it attempted to encrypt files on computers hence making them unusable unless a ransom is paid. The threat extended to complete deletion of files if payment isn’t made within a week.
This is worthy of note: a sense of urgency is created to prompt victims into action.
Again, bitcoin - an untraceable digital currency - was the currency of choice for the ransoms, amounting to around US$300.
It was a scattershot attack rather than a targeted one, with a very broad spread. It was simply meant for just about anyone to get infected! True for most cases, ransomware doesn't tend to discriminate; all sorts of organisations, such as hospitals, train stations, businesses and hospitals around the world have been impacted.
Be sensible. Be in control…
Apply some basic precautions to counter the spread of the malware.
- Install Anti-Malware Software. Most softwares are now equipped with detection capability to block WannaCry.
- Update your Windows machines with available patches. In general, keeping your operating systems current will ensure your machine gets patches that fix bugs and close security loopholes.
- Backup your data regularly. Have offline backups too, that way ransomware can’t encrypt your backups.
- Remember to treat unexpected emails with caution, especially those with attachments.
- Keep abreast of what's happening. Knowing is half the battle!
The criminals have worked out how to monetize this crime. Other subsequent variants are therefore expected to hit. We hence urge you to take necessary measures to protect yourself and adopt the right habits daily to stand a chance to fight this ransomware or any other malicious attack.
Share this page to spread the news and help keep your friends and family secure.
Emails with a forged sender address to mislead the recipient about the origin of the message. Such emails are intended to defraud the receiver in inciting the latter to send money to a “relative/friend/supplier” for payment.
Spoofed emails claiming to be from Amazon.co.uk are regularly in circulation. Emails allege recipients have made an order online and mimic an automatic customer email notification. The link leads to an authentic-looking website, which asks victims to confirm their name, address, and bank card information.
1 Billion Yahoo! Account were compromised. The company has notified potentially affected users and has required people to change their passwords.
A recent and sophisticated scam targeting consumers by means of correspondence from their banks. The letter looks genuine and informs the recipient of "unusual transactions" on their personal current account. It then asks the customer to call a telephone number to "confirm the transactions are genuine.” The victims are requested by an automated service, to enter personal details like their card number, account number or their date of birth, and so on.
Fraudsters post pictures of items for sale that either do not exist or are counterfeit which results in buyers not receiving the purchased items.