Digital deception

A shipbroker realised they had remitted US$ 360,000 of freight by mistake to an incorrect party.

There had been some correspondence between the shipbroker and the owner regarding the bank accounts, which had been verified by a phone call. However, a final e-mail arrived for the shipbroker, which had been generated by hackers. It used exactly the same language and phrases, which had been used by the principal and instructed a change of bank details.

The shipbroker realised, after the funds had been remitted that an “i” in the ship owner’s email address had been replaced by “l”.

Although they had spotted the error very soon after the money had left the shipbroker’s account and had immediately called the bank, the funds had already been transferred out by the hackers.

Once a payment has been remitted, it is exceptionally rare that the money will be recovered. Vigilance is key when remitting monies. Always check new and altered banking details on a verified phone number. A phone number on an e-mail from hackers will invariably be the hacker’s phone number.

ITIC has paid many claims where e-mails have been hacked and has produced loss prevention advice, which can be found in the dedicated fraud section of the website: Members are urged to be vigilant.

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