Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Maine: Scammers Gain Access to Downeast Energy's Cash, Clients

David Hench writes on MaineBusiness.com:

A sophisticated e-mail scam cost a Brunswick-based heating fuel company as much as $150,000 and potentially exposed hundreds of customers' checking account information, the company said Monday – a day when the U.S. Senate's Homeland Security Committee held hearings on cybersecurity.

Downeast Energy and Building Supply learned last week that scammers, apparently in Eastern Europe, had gained access to the bank account the company uses to let customers pay for fuel with electronic transfers from their checking accounts.

"We are continuing to work closely with law enforcement and our bank to ensure that our account is secured, but more importantly to protect our customers," said company President John Peters.

The scam started with an innocent-looking e-mail to a Downeast employee that purported to be from the company's bank. A link on the e-mail, which appeared to be from KeyBank, took the employee to a Web site that was identical to the bank's.

When the company's bank-issued user name and password were entered, the information was sent to the scammers, who used it to steal the money.

Federal officials say Internet criminals are increasingly targeting small and mid-sized companies.

More here.


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