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Businesses of all sizes, and in all industries, around the world are at risk of sending payments to fraudsters who pose as someone known and trusted by a company employee. This scam, called impostor fraud, cost U.S. companies $179 million from October 2013 to November 2014, according to the Internet Crime Complaint Center. And losses continue to mount as crooks get better at their impersonation tactics.

A scammer may claim to be the company’s CEO, CFO, a longtime vendor, or someone else whose name and position makes the scam believable. While impersonating this trusted business acquaintance, the scammer sends the company employee a fake invoice, payment request, or change in payment instructions. If the employee isn’t careful about confirming that the request is legitimate, the company will end up sending funds to the scammer.

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