New Payroll Wire Fraud Scam

The Saskatoon Police Service Economic Crime Unit would like to make the public aware of the latest wire fraud scam, targeting direct deposit information.

Fraudsters continue to evolve and are now targeting Human Resource/Finance departments. The fraudsters are convincing employees to change direct deposit banking information so that employee paychecks are being deposited into accounts controlled by the fraudster. They may even pose as a legitimate vendor and have service payments redirected to another account. The fraudsters are often communicating through “Phishing” emails. This is a scam by which an internet user is tricked into revealing personal or confidential information which the scammer can use illicitly. This can be as easy as clicking a link.

The fraudster tries to convince human resources personnel to change the bank account and routing information the employee uses, to have paychecks directly deposited into their bank account. Once routed to the criminal’s account, the company is responsible for replacing the stolen funds and the employee is inconvenienced with a late paycheck.

The emails look legitimate, often saying, “I need to update my direct deposit information”, initially thought to come from the CEO, CFO, a payroll director or high-profile employee. The fake emails are well written, cordial and lack any misspellings, grammar mistakes or exclamation points, which usually alert the recipient and the email filters that search for spam. The scammers create fake emails with free services like Gmail; the scammer simply opens a new email account and fills in the employee’s name allowing them to bypass tools meant to detect hacking attempts on employees email’s, often leaving the employee unaware.

If you receive a similar email, do not respond or engage the sender. Instead, obtain verification with the employee, such as verbal or in-person confirmation, before changing any personal information or records. Save the phishing email for evidence and file a Police report immediately.

If you have received a phishing email, please call the Saskatoon Police Service at 306-975-8300 or attend to the SPS Headquarters.