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WhatsApp CEO Fraud

CEO fraud is nothing new, but the tactics that fraudsters deploy are innovative and are constantly using new methods, most recently using WhatsApp to commit this type of fraud.

In CEO fraud, the criminal will impersonate a senior member of staff - in many cases the CEO. They use this false identity to pressure staff members to make unnecessary payments or to part with sensitive information held at the organisation.

It has been reported that criminals are now targeting organisations via WhatsApp. In one incident, an employee was sent messages by a WhatsApp account that looked like it belonged to their organisation’s CEO. The messages requested that the employee organise and execute a faster payment of £200k. The payment was made but it later transpired that the messages sent to the employee had been fraudulent. The fraudster had set up a WhatsApp account where the profile picture was a photo of the CEO which had been lifted from their genuine Facebook account.

Stay vigilant and follow your organisations policies and procedures when it comes to payment requests. If you receive any messages like this, you must contact the apparent sender using an established contact method to check if it is a legitimate request. Please report any fraud attempts to your Local Counter Fraud Specialist. It is also important to review your social media settings and ensure that you have set up strong privacy controls to protect your personal information from being stolen and misused.

The most recent edition of the Counter Fraud newsletter can be found here and includes information on other current scams.