By: iEquine Media Inc.
Criminals are hacking into the email accounts of equestrian professionals or other persons involved in equestrian related transactions and using information gained from the hack to dupe a party into a fraudulent wire transfer. The hackers often send an email that appears to be from an individual legitimately involved in the transaction, informing the recipient, often the buyer, that there has been a last-minute change to the wiring instructions. Following the new instructions, the recipient will wire funds directly to the hacker’s account, which will be cleared out in a matter of minutes. The money is almost always lost forever.
As we all know, as the season is in full-swing, professionals will be contending with high transactional volumes during year-end closings. This is a busy and hectic time for all those involved in the equestrian industry, and many millions of dollars will be sent and received via wire before the end of the year. This is exactly the environment in which online criminals seek to operate.
iEquine Media Inc. urges its members and state and local equine professionals to be on high alert for email and online fraud. While you may think, you are safe, you are not.
In May 2016, iEquine Media Inc. warned those actively following our news about the sophisticated email wire fraud hitting the industry. Since then, the incidents of online scams targeting equestrian professionals have continued to rise but the advice is the same.
Bottom line: Do not let your guard down. Start from the assumption that any email in your in-box could be a targeted attack from a criminal.
Follow this guidance to avoid becoming a victim:
If you believe your e-mail or any other account has been hacked, or that you or a client has otherwise been a victim of online fraud, you should take the following steps:
Report any fraudulent activity to the Federal Bureau of Investigations via their Internet Crime Complaint Center. More information can be found by clicking here.
This advice is not all-inclusive, and equestrian professionals should work with Information Technology and cybersecurity professionals to ensure that their e-mail accounts, online systems, and business practices are as secure and up-to-date as possible.
Be aware that these emails are extremely convincing. Many sophisticated parties have been duped. No one should assume that they are “too savvy” to recognize the fraud. In addition, no one should assume that they are “too small a target” to be on these criminals’ radars. This fraud is pervasive, convincing, and constantly evolving.
Resources for those interested in making sure your busineeses and personal email correspondence are safe, secure and encrypted.