Late last year the IRS warned of an uptick in payroll-related fraud crimes. HR functions of businesses of all types are at risk. One scam in particular has been seen more frequently over the last month. Fraudsters are sending emails attempting to convince payroll personnel to change an employee’s direct deposit information.
These emails generally impersonate a company employee, often an executive, and are sent to payroll or human resources personnel. The email from the fraudulent “employee” asks the payroll or human resources staff to change his or her direct deposit account to a new bank account and routing number, which belongs to the thief. This scam is usually not discovered before the victim has lost one or two payroll deposits. These requests are easily mistaken (even by spam or phishing filters) as legitimate communications.
Here’s an example of an email that might be sent:
From: John Doe
Sent: Monday, December 10, 2018
To: Sue Bunch
Subject: Direct Deposit Change
I changed my bank and I will like my paycheck DD details changed. Do you think this change can be effective for the next pay date?
Sent from my iPhone
If money is ever transmitted to a fraudulent account, it is usually out of the country and irretrievable before the fraud is discovered. We have procedures in place at Corporate Payroll Services which generally prevent attempts like this from being successful, but fraud prevention is everybody’s responsibility.
You may send fraudulent emails which are not tax related to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) at: www.ic3.gov, which is monitored by the FBI.