Thieves Steal Over $650K From Utah Bank In Wire Fraud

Oct 1, 2019, 6:11 PM | Updated: 8:43 pm

LOGAN, Utah — Cache Valley Bank employees said scammers were able to wire over $655,000 to Hong Kong in a fraud scheme while posing as an employee from a local business.

Logan Police Captain Curtis Hooley said the wire request came down through an email.

“It was supposed to be from Visionary Homes,” Hooley said. “There was a phone number listed on that email to verify that transaction. The bank employee called that phone number.”

Bank officials said sometimes, even the most experienced employees make mistakes.

While bank employees would typically call a number they have on file, rather than one provided in an email, Cache Valley Bank CEO George Daines said the scam was so sophisticated that the person on the other line sounded just like the person at the company the bank employee was used to dealing with.

“(Visionary Homes) believed that one of their employees had their email hacked,” Hooley said.

Daines said the scammer was somehow able to obtain specific information about account numbers and balance amounts.

He also added the bank is insured for losses like this and the customer will not be held responsible for the loss.

Jeffery Collins, supervisor special agent with the FBI’s Salt Lake City Office, said scammers will do whatever they can to gather information ahead of time, sometimes turning to social media.

“One of the first things they’re going to do, is they’re going to look for publicly available information,” Collins said. “Something you’ve posted online, social media, about your personal life, or your business, maybe even your travel plans. They want to gather information about you that they can use to exploit you.”

Collins also advised taking extra steps to protect your login information.

“What I try to tell people is first and foremost, implement some sort of what we call multi-factor authentication,” Collins said. “Where every time you log in, it has to send a code to your phone, or something similar to that to help provide an additional layer of security.”

Collins also said scammers will often try to apply pressure to get people to slip up.

“Urgency is usually the biggest red flag,” Collins said. “Where in the message there’s usually some sense of urgency, ‘I need you to complete it right now.'”

Coincidentally, October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. The Department of Homeland Security has compiled several resources for protecting yourself online.

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Thieves Steal Over $650K From Utah Bank In Wire Fraud