Ahead of Farm Equipment's upcoming webinar on cyber crime, I wanted to share an experience I had this year in case it can help anyone else.
Late in April of this year, our CFO came in my office with a very distraught look. She let me know that over $450,000 of money that was supposed to go to one of our suppliers never made it to them, and it was discovered because they were following up with us on the late payment.
(Remember the people saying we should get in business for ourselves because of how easy our lives would become…?)
Needless to say, this caused an incredible amount of anxiety. I was in the middle of buying out a business partner, and did NOT need this additional stress at the moment.
So what happened?
Well it seems these crooks had hacked one of our finance team member's emails and had been monitoring. On the particular day, there was a string of emails with our vendor and our finance team member. Checking on the status of payments, credit on warranty and other stuff that happens on any given day in business. In the middle of this string of emails was an email that instructed us to change account details and send payments to this particular account. Upon detailed research, the guy we were communicating with was named Mike Williams with an email address of email@example.com. The email from the scammers was firstname.lastname@example.org. (Not a real address obviously). So, it was different but not much. The font was the same, the signatures were the same, the language was the same and everything.
The result was 3 huge payments went somewhere they shouldn’t have.
And we missed it. We had policies about changing account details without phone confirmation (a no-no) but in the busyness of the day, this just happened. And I'm not sure I would have done any differently.
Anyway, through the mercy of God (I know of no other reason) in answer to prayer, the scammers hadn’t cleaned the account they sent the money to, and the Secret Service was able to recover over $300,000 of it. And we had insurance for cyber crimes. (Highly recommended) So the cash loss will be minimal.
But the stress was extreme! And caused a lot of discussion and review of security at Dawson Tire & Wheel.
Please tune in to Farm Equipment's upcoming webinar, and if anyone has any questions on steps we have taken through this “life lesson” please let us know.