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Abbotsford business out $49K in invoice email scam

Police warn public to beware of fraudsters seeking payment of bills

The Abbotsford Police Department (APD) is warning about an email scam that recently saw one local business transfer $49,000 to a fraudster, believing they were paying outstanding invoices.

Const. Paul Walker said the APD is regularly seeing losses in the range of $50,000 to $100,000 from the scam.

He said the fraudsters identify a supplier that the business uses and then pose as that business using an email address that is almost identical to the one normally used by the supplier.

“Often it’s one character different in the email address and not often seen at first glance,” Walker said.

The fraudster then sends an email to the accounts-payable department of the victim business and convinces them to send their outstanding invoices.

RELATED: Two Abbotsford businesses out $100K each in email scam

The scammer next asks the business to updates the supplier’s direct-deposit information – saying their bank accounts were recently changed – and tranfer payment for their outstanding invoices.

“We want to stress the importance of creating a habit of confirming, over the phone or other established contact method, before paying invoices to suppliers or business associates to make sure the invoice is real especially if the person requesting payment is changing their payment destination,” Walker said.

He said fraudsters are always looking at new ways to victimize people, creating realistic ways that don’t draw attention to their requests.

Walker suggests people visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (antifraudcentre.ca) to find up-to-date information on the most recent scams.


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