Payroll Diversion Frauds

Our Patrol Officers have noticed recent reports of “direct deposit diversion” or “payroll” frauds involving businesses and retailers in Victoria and Esquimalt. These frauds typically involve a “phishing” type fraud where an employer or HR department receives an email that appears to be from an employee who is asking to have their direct deposit information updated. The employer updates the direct deposit info provided by the “employee” therefore re-directing the employee’s pay cheques to a third-party account. The employee notices once they have not been paid.  

There are similar frauds where cybercriminals will send an email to an employee posing as the employer or payroll department asking them to update their contact and banking info via a fake link that appears to be their company’s website. The employee then provides their login and personal info. Cybercriminals then use this info to re-direct employees’ pay cheque funds to another account. These types of frauds are targeted and sophisticated, and cybercriminals may spend time researching the target company or employee.  

In one case, over $50,000 was stolen from an organization by fraudsters using this method.

Indicators of “direct deposit diversion” or “payroll” type frauds:

  • Is the email greeting generic rather than a named individual? (“Greetings” or “Dear Employee” etc.) keeping in mind that sometimes cybercriminals do have specific info about employees like names etc.
  • Are they requesting info from the employee that the employer should already have? Follow up with the employer or employee directly by phone to confirm the request.
  • Are they pressuring the employee to act quickly or confidentially?
  • Click on the sender’s email address, is it a valid, business address. Does the email address match the sender’s name?

What to do if you or your business have been a victim of “direct deposit diversion” or “payroll” fraud? 

  • If there is a monetary loss report to police via the E-Comm Report Desk at (250)-995-7654.
  • Notify your employer and financial institution right away and change passwords.
  • Report online to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre
  • Talk about it. These types of frauds are increasingly more sophisticated and are always evolving. Education is the most valuable tool against fraud. Talk to your employees, co-workers, friends, and family about your experience. Education is prevention.

If you think you may have fallen victim to fraud, please notify your employer and call us at (250) 995-7654 ext 1.

More Fraud Resources 

BC Securities Commission  (Investment Fraud)