Warn your staff: Criminals are impersonating senior executives to steal money

Sabric CEO Susan Potgieter said criminals glean information from company websites and other digital platforms.

The South African Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) released a statement warning that criminals are impersonating South African executive to steal money from companies. 

The statement said that criminals impersonate senior managers and send email requests to junior staff in the accounting and finance function requesting that an urgent payment be made to a specific beneficiary. 

Sabric CEO Susan Potgieter said that criminals use information from company websites and other digital platforms to identify the details of CEOs, financial directors and other key senior individuals, which they use to target employees. 

She said: 

“Digital technology, combined with social engineering which exploits our human tendency to be compliant when faced with a directive from an authority figure, enables criminals to perpetuate this type of crime.” 

She urged staff to be vigilant about checking a sender’s email address very carefully should they receive an email instructing them to make a payment. “Often, the address will only differ by one or two characters,” Potgieter said. 

The statement advised companies to never list main email address publicly online and to use a separate email address for the internet from their personal or business email account.