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Financial fraudsters are targeting ACBL entities
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On April 5, 2017 Mitch Hodus at ACBL headquarters sent an e-mail to unit and district presidents about spoofed e-mails to employees allegedly from the CEO or CFO requesting a wire transfer. He noted that ACBL headquarters had been targeted and warned units and districts to be on guard. I took this under advisement but did not think our treasurer would be fooled. Subsequently, she has received at least one such e-mail which she ignored. However, I did not consider that our backup treasurer might fall for such a scam. Our unit got scammed last week via a request to transfer money through Western Union. The transferred funds had not been collected at the destination so the victim was able to get her money back with minimal hassle.

I have reported this incident online to the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Your local police cannot really do anything but the FBI has cross jurisdictional authority and the ability to subpoena e-mail records, the account associated with an IP address and so forth. I encourage any unit or district officer who receives such an e-mail, even if money is not sent, to file a report. Presumably the IC3 is looking for correlations, i.e. same e-mail, name, similar dollar amounts, etc. and more data is always helpful. The report form is designed to collect this data in an easily searchable manner.

I show the e-mail correspondence on the following page, with the victim's name replaced by Jane Doe. There are many signs that this correspondence is fraudulent. The unit never pays anyone via Western Union. We don't even pay anyone in cash. Every payment is via check for accountability. The recipient is not someone the unit has ever dealt with. The recipient's city is outside San Diego. The e-mail purported to be from me is missing periods and has other grammatical mistakes when I'm known to be critical of such errors. The subject line, "Request", is vague, inconsistent with my style. My first name is consistently misspelled (one T instead of two). The e-mail is not signed as I normally sign e-mail. When replying to the e-mail, the response is clearly seen as going to clubpresident1112222@aol.com which is not remotely close to my e-mail address. The e-mail references a club when we are a unit. July 4th is an odd day to be reimbursed.

It's a cautionary tale that all warning signs were ignored. The victim has suffered back and foot pain for a several months. I feel medication may have played a role in this incident. As the bridge community continues to age, these scenarios will become more common and the fraud attempts may become more frequent.

Note: vp@lajollabridge is a role based e-mail that forwards to whomever holds the office.

 

From: Matthew Kidd

Sent: Saturday, June 30, 2018 10:04 AM

To: vp@lajollabridge.com

Subject: Request

Hello Jane, Are you available? I need you to make a payment to a vendor on behalf of the club. I just got a mail reminder about the payment today.

You will be reimbursed. Let me know if you can handle this right away so i can send you the details.

Thanks,

Mathew Kidd

 

From: Jane Doe <janedoe@att.net>

To: clubpresident1112222 <clubpresident1112222@aol.com>

Sent: Sat, Jun 30, 2018 8:43 pm

Subject: Re: Request

Yes, I can

 

From: Mathew Kidd

Sent: Sunday, July 01, 2018 6:25 AM

To: janedoe@att.net

Subject: Re: Request

I need you to make payment of $650 to a vendor

You will be reimbursed on 4th of July.

The vendor accept only western union payment

You just have to locate any western union store close to you

As soon as you make the payment you will be given a tracking number

Name: Charles Souza

State: California

zip code: 94545

city: Hayward

Amount: $650

Thanks,

Mathew Kidd

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