The Northwest Territories Federal Investigations Unit – Financial Crimes – are investigating a high-value fraud.
In September 2020, the NT RCMP Financial Crimes Unit received a complaint from the Government of the Northwest Territories regarding a fraud.
A vendor was the subject of a cyber-phishing campaign, which led to the suspect obtaining a list of invoices, including an invoice payable by one of the GNWT departments. The suspect then created a fake website and email addresses closely resembling that of the actual company and its employees. Using these false credentials, the company then sent a false invoice matching a legitimate outstanding invoice payable to the actual company, and requested the invoice be paid to a different financial institution than usual.
The invoice was paid and it was soon deemed fraudulent. The GNWT quickly reported it to the NT RCMP, which allowed quick decisive actions by the NT RCMP and banking partners. The entire sum was recovered and returned to the GNWT.
There have been several similar frauds targeting large and small businesses and governments throughout Canada and the NWT.
"This incident serves as a reminder to diligently check the email address and credentials of any entity requesting payment from you or your business" states Staff Sergeant Dean Riou, in charge of the NT RCMP Federal Investigations Unit.
Even though the monies have been recovered, the NT RCMP Financial Crimes Unit is continuing their criminal investigation. No one has been charged at this time.
About phishing scams:
A scammer sends an email that appears to be from a recognizable institution or company such as a bank or online subscription service. The email may claim that you need to update your account or that your tax refund is ready. Whatever the message is, the email is an attempt to trick you into providing your personal or financial information.
How to protect yourself:
- Watch out for invoices using the name of legitimate companies. Scammers will use real company names to make the invoices seem authentic. Make sure you inspect invoices thoroughly before you make a payment.
- Compile a list of companies your business uses to help employees know which contacts are real and which aren't.
- Always verify that the organization you're dealing with is legitimate before you take any other action.
- Verify carefully email addresses and web domain names for any online payments.
Anyone with information on fraud or any other criminal activity is asked to call Yellowknife RCMP at 669-1111, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or text: "nwtnutips" plus your message to 274637.
You can also report any fraud to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or report online at www.antifraudcentre.ca.