Beware of Wire Fraud Scams

Bank of Southern California is focused on ensuring the safety and security of client information. In this edition, we discuss one of the fastest growing cybercrimes in the U.S.: wire fraud.

Wire fraud scams often begin with an e-mail from a criminal impersonating a company executive, business partner, or trusted vendor. The e-mail typically emulates the writing style of the executive, includes a piece of personal information collected from their social media page, and requests the immediate transfer of funds. Due to the urgency of the request, employees often comply and wire the funds.

To prevent wire fraud, we recommend taking the following precautions:

  • Always verify the authenticity of wire requests by phone or in-person.
  • Never wire money to people you do not know and thoroughly scrutinize any requests for payments that have a sense of urgency or go to overseas bank accounts.
  • Closely monitor your bank accounts daily.
  • Be suspicious of requests from individuals who are traveling and cannot be reached by phone.
  • Never access your accounts from a public computer.
  • Be cautious of phishing attempts.

These extra steps will help protect you and your money from wire fraud. To report cyber crimes, such as wire fraud, to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) visit: Stay tuned for our next issue providing tips to keep your accounts safe from check fraud.

Scammers Take Mattel to the Bank

In 2015, Chinese scammers exploited an opportunity and nearly made off with $3 million. The only thing that prevented the loss: timing.

In this case, a finance executive received an e-mail from the company’s newly hired CEO requesting a $3 million vendor payment to China. The company was expanding in China, and so the request seemed appropriate. The request was approved by two executives and the transfer was made. When the CEO learned of the transfer, he notified law enforcement. Mattel was in luck. The next day was a Chinese banking holiday and law enforcement was able to freeze the account and recover the funds.

Crimes involving fraudulent wire transfers are on the rise. It is important to use caution before sending a wire based on an e-mail exchange.

Commitment You Can Bank On

Bank of Southern California is committed to providing resources to help keep our clients’ assets safe and secure. To learn more about how to grow and protect your business, call 858.847.4780 or visit us in person at one of our many offices conveniently located throughout Southern California.