Protect Your Business Against Spoofers and Fraudsters

Protect Your Business Against Spoofers and Fraudsters

January 21, 2021

At Calkins Law, our experiences run the gamut. This past year we’ve seen several clients attacked by spoofers, and we’re here with our takeaways and informed suggestions.

Defining Threats

So, what are spoofers? They can assume many personas, but what we’ve seen is that these criminals will often pose as legitimate creditors. They then gain access to your email account and attempt to misdirect cash from the accounts of actual creditors who are owed money by your business. Anything they poach goes straight into their pockets. These crooks can be pretty smooth and good at the bad they do.

How can you protect yourself and your business against these imposters? Here are a few ways:

  • Double- and triple-confirm any and all wire transfer instructions and subsequent changes; last minute alterations can be a first tipoff to fraud
  • Communicate directly – over the phone – with creditors regarding transfer instructions; emails aren’t always reliable
  • Scrutinize emails before clicking links, responding, or confirming sensitive information – spoofers can gain access to legitimate accounts or create accounts that seem real
  • Keep sensitive payment information private, even from trusted third parties – their vendors and employees are often vectors for fraud
  • Do not ignore that uneasy gut feeling – speak with the supposed source of the email if you need assurance of its validity

Beyond a cautious skepticism, we also suggest adding a cyber policy to your business’s insurance coverage. That way, if something goes down, you have a better chance of legal recourse. We know the threats lurking out there and want our clients to be safe and their businesses protected.

Real Life Worst Case

If spoofing sounds far-fetched, check these client’s situations and see if there isn’t a kernel of wisdom to be gleaned.

A client was sent funds that appeared to be from a business in Australia. In fact a spoofer had gained access to an Australian business’s account and directed cash meant for the business’s creditor to our client. Fortunately, our client had not yet rendered services or shipped goods, and promptly returned the stolen funds. 

In another instance, a client had a fraudster charge credit card balances to their bank account. It turns out that with the account numbers listed on any business-issued check, bad actors were able to extract the information needed to enact a payment on their credit card, drawn from our client’s banking account. 

In retrospect, an amount wired in from a foreign business should probably raise an alarm bell, but we’re just glad that everything was resolved.

These are scary times and fraudsters are committing thousands of acts of internet fraud every minute of every day. So take the first step and be aware that threats are everywhere. Then take the next logical action and talk to your trusted Calkins advisor and your insurance agent to learn what else you can do to fortify your protection arsenal. 

Prevention Over Litigation

As legal professionals, the team at Calkins Law is especially on alert because in many cases it would be very difficult and costly to recover misdirected funds via litigation. So we want our clients to be aware of what they’re facing on a daily basis and protect against it. An ounce of that proverbial protection is worth so much more than trying to fix the situation afterwards. 

We are also advocates for education. Understanding threats and common tactics naturally leads to the desire to protect one’s business. And again, insurance comes into focus. Should the worst case become reality, a victim of internet fraud is best served by a comprehensive cyber policy. Before deciding on any specific policy, you’ll want to check with your agent and ensure that the coverage will protect you in an array of circumstances and against varied risks.

Focused on Protection

Calkins Law Firm isn’t an insurance agency, but we can help our clients to obtain the needed coverages with some measured legal advice along the way. And though we’re sorry that our clients dealt with those rotten fraudsters, the knowledge gained is invaluable. We’ll be sure to use it to help clients steer clear of future risks, and in some cases, help them recover losses. Cyber attacks can very easily have substantial consequences, and here at Calkins Law Firm, we’re working to keep clients protected. Reach out today to learn more and get some real-world advice about protecting your business against cyber attack.

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