The Fourth of July: Scammers Hard at Work During your Vacation

            Given a low likelihood of recovery, wire fraud is severely underreported.  Since nearly all perpetrators are located outside of the US, criminals get your money with few repercussions.  This does not mean, however, that these criminals are unstoppable. They tend to follow trends: one example is increased fraud attempts around national holidays.  Holidays provide the perfect environment for social engineering – many people are on vacation or working remotely, everyone is trying to get out of the office and finish work quickly to start the holiday, and banks will be closed – providing bad guys more time to get money out of the country before anyone notices.

            Conduit Security’s Ryan Castle says the Fourth of July is the most common time of the year for wire fraud.  This has been our experience anecdotally, but the data trends seem to support this as well.

fireworks at fourth of july

            Google Trends is a tool that allows users to see the popularity of searches for a specific trend at certain periods of time. Looking over the past year, “wire fraud” and “recall wire transfer” have two clear peaks. One occurs the week after the New Year, and the highest interest in the terms appears the week after the Fourth of July.

            Although not definitive, people clearly search for wire fraud related topics after long holidays.  We know criminals will monitor compromised email accounts for months, waiting for the perfect opportunity to steal.  Transactions occurring around July 4th are ideal for scammers – be extremely alert and ensure your staff is aware of the increased risk this holiday season.

Safe Wiring Tips

  1. Beware of new, urgent and one-off requests that need to close ASAP.
  2. Always verify instructions for any new transactions or updated banking instructions for any payments.
  3. Always call a known good number (not the number on an invoice or from an email) to verify any instructions after they are in your possession.
  4. If you have any questions or concerns please check with teammates.