A tech reseller nearly lost over $100,000 worth of laptops to fraud.
Resellers are now trying to find legitimate buyers for their equipment.
The company thought it had an order from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) when it received an email from Daniel Chong on July 18th.
Chong, who claims to be from NTU’s procurement department, ordered 50 Dell laptops and asked the company to deliver them first to the shipping company, Penanshin Air Express.
The technology reseller’s co-founder, who can only be identified as NP, told The Straits Times:
“In the past, when NTU started bidding for laptops, we were always on board, so we were already on their list of potential vendors, and the email was legitimate. I thought it was something.”
NP found himself a victim of a business email compromise scam when Bernard Chan, 44, director of Penanshin Air Express, told him the purchase order was fake.
Such scams include emails sent by victims’ colleagues, business partners, or suppliers.
These emails are sent by scammers who hack business contact email accounts or send from fake email addresses.
According to police, 209 business email compromise cases were reported between January and June, resulting in lost $67.7 million.
That’s more than triple the $22.3 million lost to such scams from January to June last year, when 164 cases were reported.
When Chan was contacted, the scammer used a different alias and posed as an employee of GP Industries, a Singapore-based battery manufacturer.
But when scammers informed Mr Chan that a courier would pick up the laptop and arrange for it to be shipped to the UK, the director of Penangsin Air Express realized something was wrong.
Chan said, “If I only act as a pickup point, this means that my company that assists business owners in shipping goods overseas will not be paid.
After Chan called NP, there were other discrepancies, such as his email address not using the university’s domain name, despite the scammer’s claim that he was from NTU. they noticed.
Mr NP said:
“During Covid-19 we were not doing well. When we got a big order, we wanted to cash out.”
Police said an investigation was ongoing.
Linda Teo, country manager at recruitment firm ManpowerGroup Singapore, said restrictions due to the pandemic may have prevented employees who left the company from properly handing over to remaining employees. .
“Companies and suppliers that aren’t in regular contact may not be aware of these staff changes, which can create gaps in processes that fraudsters may take advantage of,” she said. “
Evelyn Chow, managing director of human resources consultancy DecodeHR, said many employees are working from home due to the pandemic.
“As this has become the norm, accounting staff will likely be allowed to process payments to outside vendors remotely,” she said.
NP plans to implement a new system in-house that requires multiple people to approve all orders, not just the sales department.
“At least the laptops weren’t taken out of the country, but now we need to pay more attention. Over the next few months, we will be training our staff and rules such as requiring face-to-face meetings before orders arrive. set.” “
https://www.tnp.sg/news/singapore/tech-equipment-reseller-narrowly-avoids-losing-more-100k-business-e-mail-scam Tech reseller narrowly avoids loss of over $100,000 in business email compromise, latest Singapore news