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New case history: The fake Chief Executive Officer

Earlier this month the newspapers reported that the Dutch banks are planning to reintroduce computerized checks on the account number and account holder in the case of funds transfer transactions. One of the reasons for this move has to do with so-called CEO fraud; in recent years this has been a real plague for companies, which have suffered losses running to millions of euros.

CEO fraud is often successful: the fraudster passes himself off as the CEO of a large company and in that capacity he orders the financial department of the company to transfer the payment for an unpaid invoice to a different bank account than usual. Once the money has been transferred to this bank account, it is immediately channelled into another account, out of reach of the injured party.

Every now and then, however, the fraudster is unsuccessful, because an alert banking institution sounds the alarm. This was the case with a transfer of €182,000 from a Dutch bank account to an account with a bank in Bulgaria. Within the space of 24 hours, the fraud had been picked up in the Netherlands and reported to the police, and we received news that the Bulgarian bank had intercepted the money. In this case, the fake CEO was caught out. This form of fraud can be expected to lose ground fast once the checks on bank account number and account holder are reintroduced.