According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, cyber criminals are targeting small and medium sized business for fraudulent money transfers from their bank accounts to off-shore accounts mostly in Eastern Europe. Small businesses need to be aware of these scams because becoming a victim could send a small company to bankruptcy or even force it to close down completely.
The way the scam works:
"...the scammers send a targeted e-mail to a company's controller or treasurer, a message that contains either a virus-laden attachment or a link that - when opened - surreptitiously installs malicious software designed to steal passwords. Armed with those credentials, the crooks then initiate a series of wire transfers, usually in increments of less than $10,000 in order to avoid banks' anti-money-laundering reporting requirements. The scams typically rely on help from so-called money mules, willing or unwitting individuals in the United States - often hired by the criminals via popular Internet job boards, the alert says. Once enlisted, the mules set up new bank accounts, withdraw the fraudulent deposits and wire the money to fraudsters, the majority of whom are located in Eastern Europe, according to the advisory."
And if you think it would be easy to get that money back from your bank, you're wrong. The rules for online banking are different for businesses. While consumers who are the victims of unauthorized transfers are giving 60 days from the receipt of the monthly banking statement to dispute unauthorized charges, businesses are only given two business days. And that's not the only bad news...
The article continued:
"The banks spend a lot of money on protecting consumer customers because they owe money if the consumer loses money," Litan said. "But the banks don't spend the same resources on the corporate accounts because they don't have to refund the corporate losses."
That's right, if your business is scammed out of thousands of dollars by these crooks, the bank won't reimburse you. Losing money to scammers could force many businesses to file bankruptcy or to close completely. Fortunately for those businesses that are damaged severely by these scammers, bankruptcy may offer some relief if you're unable to meet financial obligations because of the loss. Chapter 11 bankruptcy offers several benefits to businesses, including an automatic stay that will stop creditor collections and the opportunity to restructure, reduce or even discharge some debts. If you're a business owner who has been financially impacted by scammers, you may want to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to find out how you can save your business by filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy.