Protect your paycheck! The Federal Bureau of Investigations issued a warning against a new scam that allows cybercriminals to steal people’s paycheck straight from their direct deposit. According to the FBI, scammers send an email posing as a human resources employee to obtain their login credentials.
Once the scammers have personal access to one’s information, they log into the payroll account and change the user’s bank information. To cover their tracks, the scammers turn off notifications that alert people of any changes made to their direct deposit information process. The funds are then redirected to an account controlled by the cybercriminal, which is often a prepaid card. The most affected institutions so far have been in the healthcare, commercial airway transportation, and education sectors.
The FBI is warning employers to keep an eye out for any email that looks like it could be from the human resource department. Always ask your HR manager in person before sending any information. If anyone comes across one of these phishing emails, it is best to not click on any links, give any personal information or respond to the email. You are also advised to forward a suspicious request to your IT or HR department.
Employers are asked to monitor activities for suspicious logins during non-business hours and implement a two-step authentication process when handling sensitive information. One should also ensure that login credentials used for payroll purposes different from those used for the resources, such as surveys.
Scams such as these are not new as 27 employees of the Atlanta School District were victims of the cyber scam last year. The scam netted $56,459 and was similar to this new attempt where employees were tricked into giving personal information. The FBI also investigated 17 cases of payroll scams through July of this year, where 48 cases involved stolen deposits of more than $1 million.
The FBI encourages victims to report information concerning suspicious or criminal activity to their local FBI field office, and file a complaint with the IC3 at http://www.ic3.gov.