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Police recover $950K stolen from northern businesses through online scams

Telus Cyber Security
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Two northern businesses that were victims of spear phishing attacks have had almost $1 million returned to them following a 15-month police investigation.

Ontario Provincial Police in Temiskaming said Thursday the investigation began Feb. 23, 2022, after they received complaints from the corporations who fell victim to spear phishing scams.

Spear phishing attacks are usually email attacks that target a few individuals in a corporation and trick them, for example, into “paying” large bills when, in fact, the money is going to the scammer.

The exact details of the current scam have not been released. But the investigation, with assistance of the OPP’s northeast provincial asset forfeiture unit and the Timmins Police Service, resulted in the execution of multiple warrants.

“As a result of the investigation, more than $950,000 was returned to the two businesses on May 16,” police said in a news release.

“The OPP is reminding businesses to be on the look out for spear phishing scams and to watch for warning signs such as strange emails or links along with requests that seem odd or are of an unusually urgent nature.”

Limiting the information shared publicly on social media, being cautious if something seems off and regularly updating your software and security systems can help keep you safe from spear phishing, police said.

“Remember, don't get reeled in - if is seems 'phishy' don't bite.”

Help to identifying scams can be found here

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