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"Shark Tank" Entrepreneur Suffers $400,000 Loss After Email Scam

There's no better motivator to learn the signs of fraud than financial loss. This was the case for businesswoman and "Shark Tank" entrepreneur Barbara Corcoran who lost nearly $400,000 to an invoice email scam reported last week.

According to People, an invoice was emailed to Corcoran's bookkeeper, "approving the payment for a real estate renovation." The email said it was sent from Corcoran's assistant, which Corcoran said was normal because of her frequent investments in real estate. After ongoing communication between Corcoran's "assistant" and her bookkeeper, the latter finalized a wire payment on Feb. 25, only to learn it was a scam when she followed up with Corcoran's actual assistant.

"The money was wired to the scammer and my bookkeeper copied my assistant, who was shocked to see her name on the correspondence," Corcoran told People. "The detail that no one caught was that my assistant's email address was misspelled by one letter, making it the fake email address set up by the scammers. The scammer disappeared. I'm told that it's a common practice, and I won't be getting the money back."

Recognizing fraud is an important skill for any professional, especially those in the business-to-business credit industry. Picking up the phone and calling a colleague about a questionable invoice can save businesses from a significant financial loss. Due diligence is key.

NACM values hearing from its members on a wide range of issues, including fraud. To learn more, we are conducting a fraud survey for March 2020. Please visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/KZQQKDB to participate and earn participation points.

—Andrew Michaels, editorial associate 

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Monday, 30 March 2020