Tuesday, May 17, 2011

An Online Bank Scam Worthy of a Spy Novel

Here’s the beginning of an article I just found on the web-site mentioned in the next line…..

By Bob Sullivan (on redtape.msnbc.msn.com, on 5.17.11)

One moment of weakness -- a single click on a bogus e-mail link or website -- has cost many U.S. companies nearly $1 million apiece, the FBI said. And it has transported them into a world of international intrigue worthy of a spy novel, connecting them to a crime ring linked to six Chinese port cities near the Russian border.

In a sternly worded warning that included a remarkable level of detail for an FBI press release, the agency is warning U.S. businesses and banks to be wary of wire transfers headed to Chinese cities of Raohe, Fuyuan, Jixi City, Xunke, Tongjiang and Dongning.

It's unclear if the stolen funds remained in China or were transported elsewhere, and U.S. security firms are currently debating the significance of the notice. But the high-dollar value of the thefts, combined with their high-profile destination -- any government cybercrime warning that involves China raises eyebrows – has attracted unusual attention in the banking community.

Transactions headed to those Chinese cities should be "heavily scrutinized, especially for clients that have no prior transaction history with companies in the Heilongjiang province," the FBI said.

You can access the complete article at this link:


Joel’s comments:

Have you ever had anyone steal money from your company?

One interesting “scam” that happened to NGI, back around the early part of 1997, was a scam that went something like this (this is to the ‘best of’ my recollection, and it’s been several years since it happened)…..

Our customers’ checks were going directly to a bank-provided outsource service that opened the mail, recorded what was paid and then deposited the funds into our bank account. The only problem was that some of the checks never made it into “our” bank account. They ended up being deposited into a different “NGI” account. Some brazen person registered a new company, using Florida’s easy-to-use “Sunbiz.org” filing service – using a company name similar to our company’s name – and, then, using that paperwork, opened a checking account at another bank – and then, diverted some of our customers’ checks into that bank account. It took a while to realize that we had a problem. Our A/R people, growing concerned that some of our larger customers were not paying as promptly as they used to pay, called those customers, only to be told that “hey, we already sent you a check…. and that was over a month ago, ….. and, hey, wait a minute, that check has cleared our bank account.” That’s when we discovered the scam that someone had set up a new company and was stealing our customers’ checks and depositing them into a bank account other than ours. Pain in the ass.

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