How a phishing scam swindled this Shark Tank host out of $400,000

How a phishing scam swindled this Shark Tank host out of $400,000

We’ve focused a lot of articles on phishing scams and how no one is immune, even major money moguls like Barbara Corcoran from ABC’s Shark Tank with a net worth estimated at over $100 million fell victim to a phishing scam that wound up costing her $400,000.

Business owners are a particularly lucrative target for bad actors, and phishing emails continue to grow more sophisticated. In this instance Barbara reports receiving an email that looked like it came from her secretary going to her accountant authorizing the amount to go to a real estate deal.

Barbara like many business owners has deals going on all the time so the amount and type of authorization wasn’t unusual, allowing it to fly under everyone’s noses and make the scammers involved $400,000 richer. It wasn’t until her accountant sent an email to her real secretary confirming the transaction one last time that the scam was uncovered – and by then it was too late the transfer had already been sent.

This case proves that even with strong checks and balances in place, phishing scams can happen to almost anyone. While Barbara was able to absorb the hit without it hurting her business – many out there could not.

While the amount of money lost in this instance is quite substantial, millions of dollars are lost every day to cyber crime. It’s estimated that $1,797,945 is lost per minute according to Risk IQ’s Evil Internet Minute Report.

Even if you think your business is too small to be a target you would be wrong, scammers cast wide nets looking for victims to fall in. Here are 4 things you can have in place that could prevent this kind of scam from happening to you.

Email Best Practices

Even with these checks in place it can still be tricky to avoid, especially if your business has become a particular target for a scammer. Another famous example is how Facebook and Google were tricked out of $100 million due to an extended attack phishing attack organized by a scammer located in Lithuania. A little less than half of the money lost was recovered.

Another famous attack in 2014 saw the early release of four movies produced by Sony Pictures when North Korean hackers, upset about a movie that was being released at the time, sent targeted phishing emails that appeared as if they were coming from Apple to a top Sony executive. The damage that incurred from this attack was estimated to be over $80 million.

With both of these attacks it’s not just about the money lost either, these attacks are easily searchable to this day and had an untold effect on their reputation at the time. Massive companies like Google, Facebook and Sony can weather the storm, but could your business do the same?

Education is just one piece of the puzzle, active protection is another crucial element to avoiding the lengthy damage that can arise from a successful phishing campaign. At Valley Techlogic cyber security is a core focus for all of our plans. Learn more today with a quick and easy consultation.

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This article was powered by Valley TechLogic, an IT service provider in Atwater, CA. You can find more information at or on Facebook at . Follow us on Twitter at