Guelph, Ont., businesses have been victim of email hacking fraud, police say

GUELPH, Ont. – Police say businesses in Guelph, Ont., have recently lost “tens of thousands of dollars” in an email hacking fraud.

Investigators say businesses that deal with suppliers overseas have been receiving fraudulent emails asking that payments for services or merchandise be made to new bank accounts.

They say the fraudster will have had access to the businesses’ email for some time and will be familiar with communications that have taken place in the past and even reference these communications or other people in the company.

Police say the fraudsters will intercept any communications sent by the actual business until the money has been received, and the victim doesn’t realize they’ve been defrauded until they receive a legitimate email asking for payment of the outstanding invoices.

They say in the cases that have been investigated so far, it has been determined that the overseas company was the victim of the email hacking and that it may have been linked to hotel Wi-Fi used to access company email accounts.

Investigators say businesses should make direct contact by phone to ensure that changed payment information is correct and legitimate prior to sending any payments.