There are many brilliant things about having a cat as a chief financial officer – her soft furry tummy, her indifference to office politics, the fact that she’s willing to work for Dreamies Cat Chicken Treats – but who knew that her ability to counteract phishing scams would be one of them?
Mog received the following email last week: ‘Hello Mog’ it said, ‘I want to make a bank transfer, could you please let me know our maximum limit for the day?’. It was signed by Holly, Boring Money’s chief executive. Had Mog had access to the company bank account, she may well have been duped into sending over the information and some fraudster would have made off with the company’s cash.
Fortunately, Mog doesn’t have access to the company bank account. We find that her furry paws make her prone to errors and she tends to use company funds to stock up on more Dreamies Cat Chicken Treats than are necessarily good for her. Ever on the alert here at Boring Money, Mog’s chief email reader spotted the mistake and the phishing scam was averted.
The serious bit is this. It is a pretty sophisticated scam to target the chief financial officer of a company pretending to be the chief executive. It also doesn’t ask for bank details specifically, but presumably this would have come later. Scammers are getting better and more closely mirror the flows of email conversations. They also have a lot more information (this time, almost certainly, from Companies House).
The giveaways here are that email address isn’t Holly’s, the signature could be Holly’s, but isn’t. Also, while the email is correctly spelt – unusual for a phishing scam – the tone of voice is all wrong, impersonal and abrupt. This does not reflect the relationship between Holly and Mog, which is characterised by far greater affection.
Check out Action Fraud’s guide to spotting a phishing scam here - https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/phishing. And remember, a cat at CFO can be a solid line of defence.