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‘I thought it was my boss,’ says Burnaby victim of fake CEO scam

Burnaby police have issued a warning about this scam before
computer-laptop-scam
iStock photo

At least one Burnaby employee is out some money after falling for a fake CEO scam that was first reported in the city back in spring of 2019.

Back then, three Burnaby businesses were out thousands of dollars after employees fell victim to the so-called CEO scam.

In the scam, fraudsters posing at managers, presidents and CEOs email employees of a company, instructing them to take money and buy gift cards, like iTunes cards or VISA gift cards.

They then direct the employee to email them the pin numbers on the cards, allowing the fraudsters to use them immediately.

Burnaby RCMP received five reports of the scam in 2019.

A Burnaby resident read a previous NOW story and said the same thing happened to him in April, but he was embarrassed to tell anyone about it.

“I thought it was my boss,” said the employee of a local manufacturing firm. “The email looks pretty real and you don’t want to say no to the boss, but I’m telling people now they need to ask questions first. It wasn’t much money, but I still feel violated.”

"This fraud has resulted in some businesses losing up to $5,000," said the Burnaby RCMP in a 2019 press release. "Today we’re asking that business owners ensure their employees are aware of this scam and also know that it’s OK to ask questions of upper management if they think they’re being a victim of fraud."

If you've been a victim of the CEO scam report it to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501, the Competition Bureau at 1-800-348-5358 or the police.

Tips:

  • Beware of unsolicited calls or emails from people presenting an urgent situation requiring immediate attention
  • Educate employees at every level to be wary of unsolicited calls and emails
  • Take a careful look at the sender’s e-mail address. It may be very similar to the real one, with only one or two letters being different.
  • Give authority to only some staff to approve purchases and pay bills, and establish a standard process that requires multiple approvals for financial transactions
  • Make sure employees know how to verify a request for money before making a payment