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Schools in UK hit by CEO fraud

21 February 2018

An increasing number of schools in the UK have fallen victim to CEO impersonation fraud in recent weeks, according to an alert from ActionFraud, the British counterpart of Fraud Help Desk.

ActionFraud says the schools have suffered considerable financial losses as a result. Fraud Help Desk hasn’t seen any substantial rise in the incidence of this type of fraud in the Netherlands (yet). Experience shows that scams tend to cross borders and that some scams have spread to the Netherlands some time after they hit Britain.

In these recent cases, the scammers pretended to be the school principal. They sent an email to a staff member with responsibility for authorising payments asking them to transfer a certain amount of money. The criminals use an email address that is virtually identical to the one the principal would use.

Our advice

  • Make sure that payment processes at your school pass through several people and that procedures are adhered to. Impress upon your staff that payment requests involving large sums of money will never be sent or dealt with by email.
  • Encourage your employees to express any doubts they may have regarding a particular request.
  • Don’t give away too much information (online) as to who is responsible for certain matters. This sensitive information can be used by fraudsters against you.
  • Make sure all employees are able to spot scam emails.