$10million supermarket scam


I’ve heard some words of indignation expressed at the invitation of Frank Abagnale to speak at this years RSA conference. I understand the point of view – why should this convicted fraudster be able to make a living off the noteriety of his crimes? Mind you, there are worse ways to find fame. Mr Abagnale has yet to appear on Celebrity Big Brother, and neither has he stepped out of a limosine wearing a short skirt and no pants. Therefore he still retains some credibility in my book – at least until he declares himself a supporter of the Labour party, at which point I’d immediately demand that they stick him back in prison.

I also think that we can learn a lot from his words of wisdom because people are still falling for the old scams – just in new ways. This one’s a good’un!

Red-faced accountants from one of the biggest supermarket chains in the US are frantically trying to regain control of more than $10m lost after falling victim to online fraudsters.

Evidently, no one at Minnesota-based Supervalu bothered to confirm the authenticity of emails sent in late February. Purporting to come from two of the company’s suppliers, the messages instructed Supervalu to wire all future payments to new bank accounts. One email purported to come from representatives of Frito-Lay and the other from American Greetings. Both suppliers have established relationships with the grocery chain.

The emails were phony, but within two days, Supervalu began moving money into the accounts. Over the course of a week, the company transferred $10,128,941.94 in nine separate payments

I wonder how many other organisations have fallen for similar tricks but simply never gone public about them, or even realise they’ve been scammed? I doubt this is a one-off. Would your processes have prevented an incident of this nature if it were targeted against your organisation?