Big Organizations and Small Mom and Pop Shops can be victims of cyber fraud 

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If you run a business of any size then you are a target for cyber fraud. The article above about Morgan losing his life savings is not a “He should have known better” kind of story. Everyday we are falling victim to cyber fraud. 

It comes in many forms and from many organizations. 

In 2017 Southern Oregon University was a victim of an email scam during a capital construction project that cost the university $1.9 million. 

How did that happen?

The scammer, posing as an established vendor, sends an e-mail to the university’s accounting office with bank account changes to be used for future payments.

Because there was a lack of process in place (there is now), the address change was made and when the next payment was sent, it was sent to a bad actor bank account. 

My wife and I own several small businesses and she gets legitimate looking emails frequently from me that ask for checks to be cut or payments to be made. 

Because we have a process in place she checks with me in person before paying off any email or text I send. 

I receive SMS messages all the time that seem to be from Amazon or UP asking me to click on a link to confirm my delivery info.

Morgan runs Northwest Pizza. He was trying to buy a house. The email came seemingly from the title company with wire instructions. The timing of the email made sense. The contact info on the email was the same name he was expecting it from. He followed the instructions and transferred the money as requested. 

And then it was gone. 

He has worked with the FBI, the banks and the organizations involved to no avail. 

The electronic transfer was easy and simple and untraceable. 

The bad actors set up a fake account. Some how they found out about his home purchase and intercepted emails and knew how to write a normal looking transaction based email. 

Technology and our desire for convenience makes it too easy. 

Banks know this is a major problem. We read all the time about the grandma that was tricked or a large sum fraud, but there are millions of small frauds happening everyday. 

My niece is a Millennial and they are supposed to know technology better than all of us right? Not true. She lives at home and her parents pay for all her expenses so her paychecks go straight into the bank. She felt good knowing that she was saving a lot of money. And then one day it was all gone. She, the bank and the FBI don’t know how but small withdrawals that look normal kept hitting her account via a payment service like Venmo or Cash. The bad actors tried small amounts first and didn’t notice any password changes or alerts. So they made the amounts more and more frequent. Because she didn’t pay attention or pay for a service that alerts you for every transaction on your bank account, the money was slowly phoned out. How much money? Over $50,000 dollars. Gone. Sure, she learned a lot of lessons, we hope, and changed passwords etc, but the convenience of using your atm to pay people with apps like Venmo make it really easy for bad actors to get access to your account. 

So I’m going to spend more time in 2023 writing about cyber fraud and sharing tips on what we must do to protect our bank accounts. 

It’s a pain in the but to add layers of security to our lives but if you have any money in the bank you owe it to yourself to protect it, because in the end, it’s your responsibility. 

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