Beware of This CEO Fraud Scam

The Internal Revenue Service has identified a phishing scam, called the CEO Fraud Scam, in which a criminal impersonates a company executive, and subsequently requests that human resources or payroll send over sensitive employee information.

CEO Fraud Scam

The Internal Revenue Service has identified a CEO Fraud Scam in which a criminal impersonates a company executive such as the CEO, and subsequently request that human resources or payroll send over sensitive employee information. The information requested is among the usual suspects: social security numbers, home addresses, and anything else they can get their grubby mitts on.

This scam has earned the name The CEO Fraud Scam.

About this CEO Fraud Scam

First, cybercriminals draft up a convincing forgery email which is sent to members of the payroll or human resources departments.

Appearing similar to a legitimate email thanks to various spoofing techniques, employees are instructed to compile a list of all employees, including their:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number

Often times, these cybercriminals will simply ask for a single PDF document containing the W-2s of all employees.

An example is pictured below. CEO Fraud Scam Example

In the above image, sensitive information was blurred out as this is an actual email received.

Variations on this Scam

The I.R.S. has also found that there are several variations of this scam, which involve fraudulent wire transfers. CEO Fraud Scam Wire Transfer

How to Avoid Phishing Scams Such as This One?

There are a few easy things you can do to avoid becoming a victim of such a phishing scam.

  1. Share blog posts like this with your staff. Make sure they're in the know.
  2. Take a closer look at the email in question. You will often see:
    • Poor grammar
    • Hastily written text
    • Out of character phrases or idioms used in communication
    • Inconsistency with the sender's name and the actual sender's email address as pictured below Suspicious Email Recieved
  3. Put policies in place where higher ranking employees are the only ones to perform tasks dealing with such sensitive information

Get Involved!