Samil’s company is a family-run business, and they typically work as sub-contractors for landscaping and medium-scale construction projects. I still cannot believe that I am here narrating an email hacking scam I had read in an article about the top 10 scams of 2021 just weeks before.
The fraudsters hacked into a supplier’s email account and alerted Samil to a change in banking details. In addition, there were several invoices from this supplier for materials they used for finished and ongoing projects.
The scammers must have accessed the system of this particular supplier, as they forwarded Samil’s company invoices using the supplier’s email address that they had been transacting with, but they re-altered banking details. Yep, the bank account details Samil was to send money to had been changed. Later, after researching, it turns out the name of the scam is an email interception scam, a form of a more technical scam than those rug pull scams or romance scams. However, at that time, he did not consider it a scam because everything looked convincing.
Everything looked just like the bills Samil used to receive and manage. The outline, details, font size, logo, and other visuals look just right. In all honesty, he missed the difference because he did not know it existed. It was a significant sum as his company put in $220,000.00 of investor funds with the supplier. That is 75% of the total amount of the bill paid to that particular supplier. Changing bank account details was the clue, but they were yet to get that.
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Unfortunately, the actual supplier still did not receive credit when Samil called to confirm payment. Even though his company used the correct and EXACTLY THE SAME email address but a fake website for the provider, they insisted that they had yet to receive payment. Somehow, it was clear it was a scam.
The fraudsters have devised a plan to prevent their supplier from viewing Samil’s responses. Nevertheless, he found out when the supplier called to inform him they had not yet received payment, the second confirmation. That is when we realized we had become victims of that email interception scam.
Therefore, after informing the supplier that there was a possibility of a system breach, they sent them screenshots of the emails via WhatsApp. In addition, they had to be made aware that the breach in their system was another contributing factor that made this happen. They responded positively and decided to halt the invoices after thorough investigations and possible law enforcement processes. However, everyone already knew that the money had gone.
One month passed, and Brenda, Samil’s sister, the finance woman of the business, received an unexpected phone call from a man she had never met or known before, who claimed to put our money on hold. He is pretty convincing as they know the amount of money ($220,000) and some details of the transactions. Being a scam victim once, she did not buy his story, but things escalated very quickly, and the company was on the journey of being a scam one more time.
His first call went to voicemail, but Brenda told me that the man required her to pay him $50,000 for releasing the money in his “possession.” With an accurate tone and descriptions like those romance scammers do, he previously convinced Brenda that he actually could “recover” our fund. However, he said it was okay to pay the down payment first. So, in desperation, Brenda transferred $15,000 as the down payment. That is how another 15 grand cash flew to the scammer.
As expected, she has not yet received all or part of the 200K after paying 15K using credit cards for the fund recovery service. She argued that feeling humiliated and ashamed leads to a depressive condition because one begins to question how they were able to be so naive after calming her down and slightly educating them not to fall on this scammer for the third time.
On the second call, fortunately, while working on a project with Samil, the man got in touch with Brenda again. He wanted Brenda to pay the balance, which was $35,000, but she hung up. Although, he continued to phone the office and Brenda’s number randomly for a week in the hope that Samil or Brenda would reconsider and give him the rest $35,000. “Not this time,” Samil said. Their story is not the only one; there are similar, almost identical, stories to theirs out there. Scammers honed their skills very well. Not only once or two but scammers can scam their victims multiple times. In addition, they can use people around them, like in Samil’s case, to target more vulnerable victims. FYI, Samil’s supplier told him that three other customers also fell into the same email scam.
Is it the fault of their supplier for not having a top-notch security system? Or is it entirely scammer? Or is it Samil’s fault for not being aware? It is imperative to know How to spot and report fake websites and Scams today. In the end, reporting a scam like this to the authorities like the federal trade commission and police will help prevent similar scams from happening in the future, but it will not help you get your money back.
Back to our story, they decide to read about how to identify and report fraudulent online content. However, Samil instead stumbled into Reportscammedbitcoin.com, one of the scammer alert websites with a comprehensive database of known scam websites and scammers worldwide. So they reported the cases there along with the details. As a result, they received the report, forwarded it to the authorities, and wrote related articles to warn other people, especially internet users.
You can report a scam and prevent others from following the same scheme. Moreover, if you are asking if Samil got his company’s money back? The answer is no. There was a long delay between the actual event and the case. However, some victims got their money back after being scammed by the Ponzi scheme by fraudulent companies. So, it is different for each case, but I’m already happy to contribute to preventing people from being scammed.
Reportscammedbitcoin.com also has an international scammer list that they regularly update based on the reports and their investigations. As a former scam victim too, I have learned many things from this site, and I wish I had known it earlier. The website is so accessible and resourceful when it comes to crypto scams and other scams. Don’t wait until you become a victim; educate yourself with the 10 most popular scams of 2021 or the current year, and always check the reputation of the business or company you find online before conducting any transaction.