The Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) would like to warn and advise business entities who engage in purchasing goods and services from overseas suppliers to exercise extreme caution when dealing with their overseas business transactions and payment instructions.
The Director of the FIU, Mr Razim Buksh, said that cases have recently been brought to the attention of the FIU whereby corporate and business entities have fallen victims through email spoofing and identity theft. Cases reported to the FIU show that email correspondence sent between the ordering local business entities and their overseas suppliers were intercepted by cybercriminals.
The cybercriminals would then use email spoofing to communicate with the local business entities using the same email address of the overseas supplier.
The cybercriminals then advise the local business entity that due to changes within their (overseas supplier) finance and accounting department, the payment should be redirected to another bank account. This bank account belongs to the cybercriminals themselves.
Mr Buksh added that local business entities should immediately become suspicious when they are advised of any last minute changes in bank account details or payment instructions.
All payment instructions should be verified by the local business through alternate communication links, such as facsimile messages, or telephone verification with the genuine supplier.
Business entities and the general public who have email accounts should install good antivirus tools on their computers and communication devices, including strong email filters, and should never communicate or share personal information on the internet with strangers.
Commercial banks and money remittance service providers are also requested to exercise caution when processing such payment instructions from local businesses.
Email spoofing is a type of attack over the internet where the source of an email is fake. You will be fooled to believe that the email is from someone you know when in fact it is not.
Mr Buksh said that for two cases, the Fiji FIU was able to successfully trace funds and is liaising with the foreign counterparts.
RESERVE BANK OF FIJI