Do you have direct deposit?
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office is warning local businesses and employees about a scam in which thieves attempt to reroute employee direct deposit paychecks into alternate accounts to steal money.
CCSO has received reports involving employees or companies which have received emails asking for reroutes on direct deposit accounts.
An employee receives an email that appears to be from the company administration such as the payroll department or human resources department. The employee either responds to the email or clicks on a hyperlink. This process will have the employee provide their login credentials for their direct deposit.
Unbeknownst to the employee or company, the scammer then uses the information to access the direct deposit and financial account of the employee. The login and security information is changed so that the employee is never alerted to any fraudulent activity. When the company direct deposits the employee’s pay into the account, it is actually diverted to the scammer’s account and laundered into electronic cash such as prepaid cards. The financial institutions, businesses, and employees are left trying to rectify the situation.
The Collier County Sheriff’s Office urges area businesses to be cautious with these types of requests and to communicate with employees to verify this process.
The stolen money is rarely recovered in these cases, according to Sgt. Brian Sawyer of the sheriff’s Crime Prevention Unit.
To minimize the risk of being victimized, Sgt. Sawyer advises to approach emails with caution. Criminals will send emails that look authentic and may appear to be from the person they are impersonating.
Verify who the email is from before responding with any financial information, personal identifying information, or clicking on a hyperlink.
“There is typically not exigent need for financial information to be shared until the employee and employer can confirm that the request is legitimate,” Sgt. Sawyer said.
He said businesses should educate their finance and payroll departments as well as employees on schemes to look for.
Businesses should also provide increased security measures with the finance and payroll departments of any company.
Businesses and employees should report phishing emails to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov
. If you have suffered a financial loss, you may report the incident to your local law enforcement. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office can be contacted at 239-252-9300, or you can file a report online at www.colliersheriff.org
. Call the Collier County Sheriff’s Office Fraud Hotline at 239-252-CALL if you have questions about fraud or scams.