Spear-Phishing Scam Nearly Nets Big Tuna
NEW YORK—A scammer posing as a representative for one of the nation's largest printers managed to con a major publisher into wiring $8 million into his bank account late last year, Wired.com reported. Fortunately for the publisher, the phisher was caught by federal authorities before he could withdraw any money.
Media mogul Condé Nast allegedly began sending payments for printing jobs to a bank account believed to be owned by Quad/Graphics of Sussex, WI, which prints magazines for Condé Nast. Wired.com, citing court documents, reported that the publisher's accounts payable department received an e-mail purported to come from Quad/Graphics, asking that it send payments to a specific bank account, and even included an electronic payments authorization form. According to the e-mail, the account was for "Quad Graph," a close match to the actual printer's name.
A Condé Nast representative signed and returned the form via a fax number listed in the e-mail, and began making electronic transfer payments. A total of about $8 million was wired to the "Quad Graph" account between Nov. 17 and Dec. 30. The scam was discovered when Quad/Graphics reached out to the publisher regarding outstanding bills.
Federal authorities were able to obtain a seizure warrant on Jan. 10 to freeze two accounts held by Andy Surface before any of the money was withdrawn. The court filing alleges Surface incorporated his business name with the county clerk's office last September and then opened the bank account at BBVA Compass Bank in Alvin, TX. Surface has yet to be charged with a crime, according to Wired.com, which is published by Condé Nast.