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Consumer Assistance Program Helps Businesses Affected by Scams

December 20, 2021

The Final Installment in a Three-Part Video Series on Imposter Scams

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171

The Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) today released a video and toolkit warning Vermont businesses of the business imposter email scam. Imposter scams continue to be among the top scams reported by Vermonters to CAP. In 2020, the business imposter email scam resulted in a total reported loss of $116,648. Today’s video and toolkit are the third and final installment in a three-part series on imposter scams.

“We want all of Vermont’s small businesses to be on the lookout for the business imposter email scam, especially during this busy holiday season,” said Attorney General Donovan. “If you’re concerned that your business was scammed or has been targeted by a scammer, contact my office’s Consumer Assistance Program for help.”

Business imposter email scams occur when cybercriminals compromise business systems while purporting to be familiar business representatives. They then request funds in what appears to be standard operating procedure. Emails requesting funds may be hacked or spoofed, appearing to be a representative of the business. Email recipients are under pressure to act fast due to an underlying emergent issue. Common forms of payment include bank wire transfers, cryptocurrency, and gift cards.

The video and toolkit released today provide information about how to spot the business imposter scam and the steps Vermont businesses can take to protect themselves. These steps include:

  • conducting cybersecurity assessments to check internal controls and resolve vulnerabilities;
  • training staff regularly in cybersecurity and funds management protocols; and
  • enlisting internal protocols to verify the transfer of funds by engaging multiple staff members and voice verification.

The video also warns Vermont businesses to never send money to parties they cannot verify.

The “Imposter Scam: Know Your Relationships” series was made possible with funding provided by the Sears Consumer Protection and Education Fund. Additionally, CAP would like to thank Hen House Media for their production assistance, the actors who generously volunteered their time, and Twincraft Skincare for providing their space for production.

Here are links to the business imposter scam video and toolkit.

To report scams, complete the Consumer Assistance Program’s online scam reporting form or call 1-800-649-2424.