You receive an urgent request from a company executive. Can you please pay an invoice right away? This is not the normal procedure, but you are told this is an exception. You have your doubts, but process the payment as instructed. It turns out the company executive knows nothing about it. A cyber imposter stole information and pretended to be a senior manager. Now the money is gone. So never blindly accept an unusual request.
Learn to recognise cyber imposters.
CEO fraud involves criminals posing as a high-ranking manager or director. It can come in different forms but usually they proceed as follows: an employee in the financial administration department receives an e-mail from the manager requesting that a large sum of money be transferred to a foreign account. There is a rush and it is outside normal procedures.
Before you get an e-mail, there has already been a lot of preparation. The cybercriminals gather information about your organization, who the manager is, how he or she communicates and the procedures you have in place. Anything to make it as plausible as possible.
Due to the high pressure (payments must be made quickly) and hierarchical distance from the supervisor, it often happens that the employee deviates from the procedure and transfers the money. To the criminals, in other words. Such damage is also not insured because the employee performs the action himself.
43 million in damage in the Netherlands
The Fraudehelpdesk reported in 2022 that 43 million damages were suffered in the Netherlands due to this type of scam. Smaller companies, foundations and associations also fall victim to this type of scam.So be aware of CEO fraud and don’t be fooled.
Our tips to protect yourself from CEO fraud
- If you are asked by phone or email to transfer money, verify this internally by approaching the manager in question personally.
- Discuss the possibility of this type of fraud with colleagues and supervisors. Make clear agreements about deviant requests.
- Provide clear internal procedures for money transfers and try to avoid exceptions to the procedure.
- Use the ‘four-eye principle’ for large amounts. Then you look at the request together with a colleague so you can better see through scams.
- On the Fraude Helpdesk you can find examples of different types of fraud and ask for help if you are a victim of fraud.