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'CEO scam' is targeting Yukoners, RCMP warn

Police are warning Yukoners to be aware of fraudulent emails that appear to be from their boss, asking for urgent wire transfers or gift card purchases.

Scammers send fraudulent emails, asking employees to wire money or purchase gift cards

Yukon RCMP say the 'CEO scam' is not new, but there have been recent reports from several communities, including Haines Junction, Carmacks, Watson Lake and Lower Post, B.C. (iStock)

Police are warning Yukoners to be aware of fraudulent emails that appear to be from their boss, asking for urgent wire transfers or gift card purchases.

Yukon RCMP say the "CEO scam" is not new, but there have been recent reports from several communities, including Haines Junction, Carmacks, Watson Lake and Lower Post, B.C.

The latest report came from Carmacks. According to police, a woman received an email that appeared to be from her employer, asking that she go purchase $800 worth of Google Play cards. The fraudster, claiming to be the boss, said he was too busy to do it himself.

The employee was asked to scratch the redemption codes on the backs of the cards, and send photos to another email address. She found out it was a fraud when she later contacted her boss to confirm he received the photos.

Police say scammers typically access online email directories and target employees who have authority to access or move money.

"Fraudsters send realistic-looking emails, requesting urgent wire transfers or gift card purchases for what appear to be legitimate business pr personal reasons, such as 'securing an important contract,' or 'a confidential transaction,'" RCMP explain in a news release.

Businesses have been scammed out of tens of thousands of dollars, police say.

They advise people and businesses to protect themselves against the "CEO scam" in several ways:

  • Ensure business computer systems are secure from hackers.
  • Look carefully at a sender's email address — sometimes it may differ from the real address by only a letter or two.
  • Double-check with executives before wiring money by email.
  • Establish procedures for multiple approvals of money transfers.
  • Limit the amount of employee information available online.

RCMP say anybody who believes they may have been targeted should contact police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre.

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