Attorney General Ford Warns of Email Scams Targeting Nevada’s Small Business Owners

April 12, 2019

Carson City, NV – Nevada Attorney General Aaron D. Ford encourages Nevadans to be aware of email scams targeting small business owners in Nevada. Scammers may send emails to small businesses and individuals attempting to obtain money, personally identifying information, particularly W-2 and other important tax forms.

In order to make their email appear urgent and legitimate, scammers generally impersonate a business executive or other employee requesting a payment via wire transfer or access to employee payroll or W-2 or similar tax information. The email may appear to be from the human resources department, accounting department, legal department, or another trusted vendor. In some cases, the email address may be legitimate, and the scammer has obtained access to the account by phishing or hacking. The perpetrator also commonly adjusts the scheme to target specific victims.

    “These scams target individuals and businesses in our communities,” said AG Ford. “According to the FBI, Nevada businesses lost $7.6 million in 2017 from these types of tax scams, and with tax day around the corner, I encourage all Nevadans to be vigilant during this vulnerable period.”

      While these scams are highly sophisticated, Nevada businesses and individuals are encouraged to take the following steps to protect themselves from these targeted attacks:

        • Use multi-factor authentication in addition to strong passwords whenever possible. While the cost of implementing multi-factor authentication can be high, the cost of a data compromise is generally higher.

        • Conduct employee training on the threat of email scams and how to identify phishing emails.

        • Create company policies that require employees to verify any changes to existing invoices, bank deposits and contact information by phone.

        • Consider requiring two parties to sign off on transfers.

          Information about these scams arose during a meeting of the Attorney General’s Technological Crime Advisory Board. This Board is comprised of appointed representatives from Nevada’s Executive and Legislative branches, state, local and federal law enforcement agencies, private industry and Nevada’s educational institutions. The Board works to coordinate training and education on the prevention and detection of technological crimes, to assist the Department of Information Technology in securing government information systems against intrusion, and to recommend changes to Nevada laws responding to technological change and law enforcement requirements.

            If you believe you have been a victim of a business email scam, contact the originating bank and request a wire transfer recall. Save all messages and evidence associated with the event, and immediately file a complaint with the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at