**** RCMP Media Release
Protect your business from payment redirect scams
The Nova Scotia RCMP is warning businesses to use caution when sending or receiving account or payment information over email.
The Nova Scotia RCMP Commercial Crime Section has noticed an increase in reported cases of business emails being hacked to redirect electronic payments. Scammers are hacking business email systems and intercepting emails that contain billing or payment instructions. The scammer then changes the billing information and resends the altered email to the other company causing future payments to be sent directly to the fraudster. Companies across the Maritimes have been victimized, including a business in Nova Scotia that was defrauded $100,000.
“These scams are not new but can be crippling to a small business,” says Cpl Laurie Haines of the Nova Scotia RCMP Commercial Crime Section. “Any business who receives a request via email to change payment instructions should contact the business directly to confirm. As part of Cybersecurity Awareness Month in October, its crucial businesses maintain strong email security practices,” he adds and recommends the following:
1. Keep computer security up to date with anti-virus and anti-spyware software, and a good firewall. Only buy a computer and anti-virus software from a reputable source.
2. Regularly use your security software to run a virus check.
3. Secure your networks and devices, and avoid using public computers or WiFi Hotspots to access or provide personal and security information.
4. Choose passwords and PINs that would be difficult for others to guess, and update them regularly. Do not save the passwords on your phone or computer.
5. Do not open attachments or click on links in emails or social media messages received from strangers.
6. Be wary of apps and downloads from unfamiliar websites. They may install harmful programs without you knowing.
7. Do not use software that auto-completes online forms.
8. Prohibit personal use of company emails.
9. Educate your employees on the importance of cybersecurity by sharing this information with them.
Anyone who suspects they have been targeted by this scam is encouraged to contact their local police, and also the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or online at https://www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.