We have been getting a number of reports lately from the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center – or IC3.gov – about a particular scam hitting Oregonians hard in recent months.
Here’s how it works. An organization – it can be a government agency, private business, non-profit or educational institution – receives a request from an employee to switch the direct deposit of his paycheck from one account to another. The payroll department responds, sending the supposed employee the required paperwork. The payroll department receives the signed paperwork back, usually with a canceled check for the new account attached. This whole process can happen quickly, sometimes in just a matter of a couple of hours.
The problem is that a fraudster is spoofing the identity of a real employee. Neither the real employee nor the payroll department is aware that there is a problem until the next pay day when the employee doesn’t receive his check.
Employees should always check their bank accounts regularly to confirm that both direct deposits and any withdrawals are legitimate and timely. If you notice something that doesn’t seem right, start making calls right away.
Beyond that, here are some recommendations for employers:
If you have been victimized by this online scam or any other cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.