Email fraud alert as Cork company is scammed out of hundreds of thousands

Email fraud alert as Cork company is scammed out of hundreds of thousands

A CORK company has been scammed out of hundreds of thousands of euro in a fraud targeting businesses and charities.

Gardai are warning businesses to be on the alert for any emails claiming to be from a respected figure in the company seeking the transfer of large sums of money in the wake of the incident.

According to gardaí, the successful fraud attempt is one of several made in the Cork area in recent months. No details are being revealed about the nature of the company, or its location.

Typically, an email purporting to be from a company’s chief executive is received by staff in charge of finances in the company, asking for a sum to be transferred to an account. Typically, the money is wired outside of the country, making it very difficult for gardaí to investigate. The scam is an international one which has targeted businesses across the world. It is known as CEO fraud.

Gardai say that in some instances, the requests to transfer money are made late on a Friday afternoon, adding to the note of urgency to have the transaction carried out before the weekend.

The recent attack involves criminals hacking into a target company’s email system.

It follows an attempt last autumn to target Cork City Council, where a suspicious email was received by the council’s finance department, claiming to be from the council’s chief executive, Ann Doherty. However, a red flag was raised in that incident when the email was prevented from going through the system by the spam filters and finance staff discovered that the format of the email address was not the same as the legitimate email address for Ms Doherty.

Last October, more than €4 million was transferred to Hong Kong from Meath County Council but the funds were frozen when the fraud was detected.

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